Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene therapy boosts cancer chemotherapy

06.08.2002


Researchers at the University of Chicago have found a way to combine cancer chemotherapy with gene therapy designed to disrupt the growth of blood vessels to a tumor. The combination, tested in mice, is far more effective than standard chemotherapy and has no additional side effects. This innovative approach is described in the August issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

This new approach evolved out of a similar system, now entering phase-2 human trials, that combines gene therapy with radiation therapy.

"The radiation therapy approach appears to be quite effective, aiming a powerful anticancer arsenal at the tumor," said Ralph Weichselbaum, M.D., professor and chairman of radiation oncology at the University of Chicago and director of the study. "The new combination with chemotherapy, however, not only enables us to target the original tumor but also potentially to aim at the small clusters of cancer cells that may have spread to distant sites."



The therapy uses a modified cold virus to insert the gene for tumor necrosis factor (TNF) into cells within a tumor. TNF is a potent biological substance that can kill cancer cells directly and disrupt their blood supply, but it can be very toxic when given systemically. The researchers originally altered the TNF gene so that it could be turned on by radiation therapy. Now they have produced a version of the gene that can be activated by exposure to the common anti-cancer drug cisplatin. So mice treated with both the gene injections and cisplatin have high concentrations of TNF within the injected tumors, but nowhere else.

The researchers found that the combined therapy was far more effective than either cisplatin or TNF-gene injections alone. Tumors treated with the combination of gene therapy and cisplatin had "significant regression," note the authors, with "no additional toxicity."

Untreated tumors doubled in size within four days and grew to more than four times their original size in two weeks. Tumors treated with cisplatin alone or injected with the virus alone grew more slowly.

Cisplatin is currently used to treat many types of cancer, including lung, head and neck, ovarian and bladder cancers. Adding TNF increases the anti-cancer effects of cisplatin at the injection site. It may also interfere with the tumor’s ability to increase its blood supply. Since TNF was produced only at the injection sites, it did not increase toxicity.

TNF may also, indirectly, support cisplatin’s assault on distant metastases. Earlier this year Weichselbaum’s group showed that TNF stimulated the production of angiostatin, which inhibits a tumor’s efforts to grow new blood vessels.

This novel approach to combination cancer therapy grew out of a series of discoveries from Weichselbaum’s laboratory. In 1989, they discovered that radiation therapy could induce cancer cells to release small amounts of TNF, which in turn made the radiation more effective.

In 1998, Weichselbaum showed that radiation dramatically enhanced the effects of angiogenesis inhibitors -- natural substances such as angiostatin or endostation. These interfere with a tumor’s efforts to grow new blood vessels, which are necessary for tumor growth.

Since 1999, Weichselbaum has worked with colleagues and scientists at GenVec, a biotech company based in Gaithersburg, MD, to develop safe and effective ways to insert a supercharged TNF gene into tumor cells. Infected cells produce high levels of TNF only when radiation or chemotherapy turns on the gene.


This research was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute and GenVec. Two of the authors have patented this novel approach to combination cancer therapy and have a financial interest in the the company that produces the virus

John Easton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.medcenter.uchicago.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>