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Bone Marrow Transplant. 1996 Dec;18 Suppl 3:S6-9.

Gene therapy for malignant neoplasms of the CNS.

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  • 1Gene Therapy Research and Clinical Affairs, OncorPharm, Gaithersburg, MD 20877, USA.


Five different gene transfer protocols have progressed into human clinical trials for the treatment of brain tumors. Two utilize the in vivo transfer of the Herpes Simplex-thymidine kinase (HS-tk) gene by either retroviral or adenoviral gene transfer. HS-tk confers a sensitivity to the anti-herpes drug ganciclovir (GCV). Insertion of HS-tk into tumors and subsequent treatment with GCV has successfully eliminated tumors in experimental animal models despite less than a 100% gene transfer efficiency. This phenomenon, the 'bystander effect', allows the destruction of neighboring tumor cells not transduced with HS-tk. Two other approaches use ex vivo gene transfer of either the IL-2 or antisense insulin-like growth factor type 1 (IGF-1) genes into autologous tumor cells. In animal models, tumor cells genetically altered with antisense IGF-1 or IL-2 genes induce a potent cell-mediated antitumor response. The fifth approach uses the genetic modification of hematopoietic stem cells instead of tumor cells. In this approach, the multiple drug resistance (MDR-1) gene is transferred into stem cells to protect them from the toxic effects of certain chemotherapy drugs. This may allow the administration of higher doses without increasing bone marrow toxicity. Together, these clinical trials will provide critical information needed to develop improved gene transfer technologies for humans and to attain clinical benefit for cancer patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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