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 Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

nachricht The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>