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July 11, 2007

Gene Therapy Eradicates Pancreatic Cancer In Preclinical Trial

Topics: Pancreatic Cancer

In what appears to be a promising approach to gene therapy for pancreatic cancer, researchers from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report the development of a molecularly engineered therapy that selectively embeds a gene in pancreatic cancer and shrinks or eradicates tumors, inhibits metastasis, and prolongs survival with virtually no toxicity.
"This vehicle, or vector, is so targeted and robust in its cancer-specific expression that it can be used for therapy and perhaps for imaging," notes senior author Mien-Chie Hung, Ph.D., professor and chair of M. D. Anderson's Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology.

The researchers call the system a versatile expression vector - nicknamed VISA. It includes a targeting agent, also called a promoter, two components that boost gene expression in the target tissue, and a payload - in this case a gene known to kill cancer cells. It's all packaged in a fatty ball called a liposome and delivered intravenously.

Researchers are working with M. D. Anderson clinicians to move the system, developed and tested in mouse models of pancreatic cancer, to a Phase I clinical trial.

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Posted by Richard at July 11, 2007 10:20 AM

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