Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers test new therapy for advanced melanoma

06.04.2005


Melanoma is a particularly deadly form of skin cancer very resistant to treatment. Researchers at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and the University of South Florida are testing a promising new therapy that prompts the immune system to aid in the fight against melanoma tumors.



"This is a milestone clinical trial because it is the first time that electroporation is being used to deliver plasmid DNA in a gene therapy study in humans," said Richard Heller, PhD, USF professor of medical microbiology and immunology who helped develop the technology used in the study.

Electroporation is a technique in which a hand-held device applied to the skin delivers pulses of electricity to open up pores in the tumor cell membrane. This opening allows a small therapeutic molecule -- in this case a molecule known as a DNA plasmid that contains the gene for Interleukin-12 -- to slip inside the melanoma tumor before the membrane reseals.


"Melanoma does not respond well to standard chemotherapy," said Adil Daud, MD, assistant professor of oncology in the Cutaneous Oncology Program at Moffitt. "Gene therapy gives us the flexibility to introduce a huge variety of potential targets for treatment, but its major limitation has been getting the gene into the cancer. If electroporation can deliver the gene to these tumors reliably and without serious side effects, melanoma and other cancers would be open to many new treatment possibilities."

Six years of laboratory studies by Dr. Heller and his colleagues preceded the initial human trial begun earlier this year at Moffitt. The collaboration of USF and Moffitt in this trial is a good example of translational research -- moving the new application of a gene transfer technology from an animal model to the patient. Dr. Heller’s team worked extensively with Dr. Daud to adapt the electroporation technique used on mice to humans.

The researchers injected the DNA plasmid, which encodes a gene that stimulates the immune system, directly into the tumor site in mice. Then, they applied electroporation to the site to help the plasmid move into the tumor cells. The tumor cells used the plasmid’s genetic instructions to make proteins. These proteins signaled the immune system to recognize the melanoma tumors as abnormal and attack.

Eighty percent of the mice were cured with this therapy -- their tumors disappeared and the treated animals remained disease free for the full length of the study (100 days), Dr. Heller said.

Furthermore, he said, even when melanoma cells were reinjected into the cured mice the tumors were rejected. This indicates the immune system formed a memory response that recognized the melanoma cells as foreign and prevented tumor regrowth.

"We were very encouraged by the results of the preclinical studies." Dr. Heller said. "We’re hoping this translates into a beneficial treatment for patients."

The Phase 1 clinical trial by Moffitt and Genetronics Biomedical Corp is evaluating the safety of the electroporation technology in treating patients with advanced melanoma. The trial expects to enroll 18 to 25 patients.

Anne DeLotto Baier | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.hsc.usf.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>