Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers invent ’hitchhiking’ viruses as cancer drug delivery system

19.09.2005


Mayo Clinic research team has devised a new virus-based gene therapy delivery system to help fight cancer. Researchers say their findings will help overcome hurdles that have hindered gene therapy cancer treatments.



The Mayo research team, which includes a collaborator from the United Kingdom, describes its new approach in the current edition of Nature Medicine.

The approach relies on "therapeutic hitchhikers" -- particles derived from retroviruses (RNA-containing viruses that incorporate into the genomes of infected cells and then produce a therapeutic gene). The viral particles attach to a specific kind of T cell in the immune system and "hitchhike" to the tumor because T cells home in on tumors naturally; T cells are the immune system’s major line of defense against tumors. By hitching a ride on the T cells, the therapeutic particles can hit their tumor target while avoiding detection (and destruction) by the immune system. When the Mayo team experimented with the hitchhiking approach in mice using human and mouse cancer cells, they observed significant cure rates of metastatic -- or spreading -- tumors.


"Any clinical situation in which cells home to disease sites -- such as inflammation or autoimmune disease -- might benefit from this approach," explains Richard Vile, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic molecular immunologist and lead researcher of the investigation. "Our work is an important contribution to the maturation of the field of gene therapy because ultimately treating cancers by gene therapy depends on scientists’ ability to specifically target tumor cells in the patient -- and this specific-delivery feature has eluded researchers for a variety of reasons. But by devising a way for viruses to hitch rides on antigen-specific T cells, we’ve been able to get over multiple obstacles to gene therapy."

Dr. Vile emphasizes that the work is still experimental and not yet ready for use in human patients. But if larger studies validate these findings, the therapeutic hitchhiker approach may be employed in clinical trials of new treatments.

Significance of the Mayo Research

The Mayo investigators have invented a simpler method for using modified viruses to transport therapeutic genes to tumors. They are the first to exploit traits of retroviruses during the infection process of a cell in which attachment to the cell can occur in a nonspecific way. This opens up new opportunities for using viruses therapeutically because this method of attachment allows researchers not only to target particular cells, but also to more easily gain entry into the cells -- which they must do to deliver therapeutic genes to destroy tumors. The T cells also help kill tumors.

About the Investigation

Using mice, the Mayo Clinic team showed that retrovirus particles could successfully attach to the surface of primary T cells and then safely hitchhike -- be carried through the bodies of mice that had fully functioning immune systems and evade detection by the immune system -- to reach tumors, the sites of T cell accumulation. They further showed that once it reached the tumor, the viral transporter successfully transferred a gene to both mouse and human tumor cells that then infected the cells. This proved that the concept works.

Collaboration and Support

In addition to Dr. Vile, the Mayo Clinic research team included Caroline Cole, Ph.D.; Jian Qiao, M.D., Ph.D.; Timothy Kottke; Rosa Maria Diaz, Ph.D.; Atique Ahmed; Luis Sanchez-Perez; Gregory Brunn, Ph.D.; and Jill Thompson. John Chester, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., collaborated from the Cancer Research UK Clinical Center, St. James’ University Hospital, Leeds, UK. The work was supported by grants from Mayo Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Robert Nellis | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nature.com/nm/index.html
http://www.mayoclinic.com
http://www.mayo.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Choreographing the microRNA-target dance
24.01.2017 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

nachricht Synthetic nanoparticles achieve the complexity of protein molecules
24.01.2017 | Carnegie Mellon University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Arctic melt ponds form when meltwater clogs ice pores

24.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Synthetic nanoparticles achieve the complexity of protein molecules

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

PPPL physicist uncovers clues to mechanism behind magnetic reconnection

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>