An innovative combination of two medical procedures-gene therapy and radiation therapy--can increase cancer cure rates by significant amounts compared to the cure rates offered by conventional radiation therapy alone, a Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) team has concluded. The researchers presented their results last month in Montreal at the annual conference of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.
Known as genetic radiotherapy, the combined treatment can potentially increase cancer cure rates by up to 70% over present therapies that exclusively use radiation therapy, the researchers say. The combined technique is currently evolving from laboratory studies to human clinical trials.
In genetic radiotherapy, cancer cells are infected with a virus that makes tumor cells more sensitive to--and more easily destroyed by--radiation such as x-rays. At last months medical physics meeting, the VCU researchers presented a quantitative model predicting the increase in cancer cure rates with genetic radiotherapy.
Ben Stein | EurekAlert!
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