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 First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments
14.08.2018 | Brown University

nachricht Tiny Helpers that Clean Cells
14.08.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Tiny Helpers that Clean Cells

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Algorithm provides early warning system for tracking groundwater contamination

14.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>