Myelosuppression is the main side effect of cancer chemotherapy. An improved rate of retroviral vector-mediated gene transfer to hematopoietic stem cells, shown in more recent clinical trials, has created the basis to test the concept of myeloprotective gene therapy. We transplanted clinical-scale human peripheral blood progenitor cell grafts (n = 2) transduced with retroviral vector SF91m3, which contains the human multidrug resistance 1 gene (MDR1), into nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient (NOD/SCID) mice. Engrafted mice of one cohort were protected from paclitaxel toxicity (p < 0.05) and we noted a similar trend in the second cohort. In paclitaxel-treated mice that had received gene-transduced cells we found a significant increase in gene marking (p < 0.05 - p < 0.01) or P-glycoprotein expression (p < 0.01) compared with their chemotherapy-naive counterparts. This is the first report showing that cytostatic drug resistance gene therapy can mediate chemoprotection of human clinically relevant stem cell populations with marrow engraftment potential.