Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene Therapy Boosts Cancer Chemotherapy

Date:
August 6, 2002
Source:
University Of Chicago Medical Center
Summary:
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.

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.

Related Articles


"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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Chicago Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Chicago Medical Center. "Gene Therapy Boosts Cancer Chemotherapy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 August 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020806080321.htm>.
University Of Chicago Medical Center. (2002, August 6). Gene Therapy Boosts Cancer Chemotherapy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020806080321.htm
University Of Chicago Medical Center. "Gene Therapy Boosts Cancer Chemotherapy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020806080321.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins