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 Inselspital: Fewer CT scans needed after cerebral bleeding
20.03.2019 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Building blocks for new medications: the University of Graz is seeking a technology partner
19.03.2019 | Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

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: The taming of the light screw

DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.

The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...

Im Focus: Magnetic micro-boats

Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.

The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...

Im Focus: Self-healing coating made of corn starch makes small scratches disappear through heat

Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.

Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Solving the efficiency of Gram-negative bacteria

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Bacteria bide their time when antibiotics attack

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Open source software helps researchers extract key insights from huge sensor datasets

22.03.2019 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>