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Minerva Biotecnologica 2005 June;17(2):93-103

language: English

Cancer gene therapy and tumor suppressor genes

Ramesh R. 1, Chada S. 2

1 Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA;
2 Introgen Therapeutics, Inc., Houston, TX, USA


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Treatment of cancer using conventional methods that include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy have made little progress in the last 2 decades. As a result patients diagnosed with cancer have a poor five-year survival rate. Therefore, an enormous effort is being made to develop novel treatment strategies for cancer. One novel technology that is being developed and tested as a cancer therapeutic strategy is cancer gene therapy. Several genes that include tumor suppressor genes and cytokine genes have previously been tested as cancer therapies in both preclinical and clinical settings. Initial results from early gene therapy-based Phase-I/II clinical trials, in particular those using tumor suppressor genes, have shown that the treatment is well tolerated and in a few cases shows favorable clinical responses. These results suggest the feasibility of developing gene therapy as a versatile and powerful treatment tool for human cancers. It is, however, yet to be seen if the ongoing cancer gene therapy-based Phase III clinical trials will show success as seen in the early Phase I/II trials for subsequent product registration and approval by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). In this article we will summarize the results obtained from preclinical and clinical cancer gene therapy-based studies with emphasis on tumor suppressor genes.

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