Radiation-Guided Gene Therapy of Cancer

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Abstract

Gene therapy has been proposed as a means to combat cancer. However, systemic toxicity observed in preclinical trials suggested the importance of selectively targeted delivery and inducible gene expression in tumor tissues. Discovery of radiation-inducible promoter sequences provides one way to minimize inadvertent toxicity from gene therapy in normal tissues. Radiation is administered to selectively induce cytotoxic gene expression in the targeted tumor tissues. With promising results from phase II clinical trials using TNF-expressing adenovirus, it is possible to have radiation-guided gene therapy regimes once the tumor-targeted delivery has been achieved. Tumor endothelium is an attractive biological target for gene therapy, because it has the advantage of stability, accessibility, and bioavailability for therapeutic agents. Technological development of DNA microarray, proteomic profiling, and phage-displayed libraries accelerates the identification of tumor-specific endothelial biomarkers and discovery of its relevant affinity reagents for targeted delivery. The application of radiation-guided gene delivery, its amplification, as well as expression of gene therapy presents great opportunities to be employed as an alternative cancer treatment.

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