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Hum Gene Ther. 1997 Jul 20;8(11):1345-53.

Limited efficacy of the HSV-TK/GCV system for gene therapy of malignant gliomas and perspectives for the combined transduction of the interleukin-4 gene.

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  • 1Istituto Nazionale Neurologico C. Besta, Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, Milano, Italy.


The growth of U-87 or C6 gliomas co-implanted in nude mice with retroviral producer cells (VPC) expressing the herpes simplex virus-thymidine kinase (HSV-tk) gene is only partially impaired by treatment with ganciclovir (GCV). The effect of GCV is even less evident when C6 and VPC are co-implanted into the rat brain. Furthermore, tumors from C6 cells carrying the HSV-tk gene are not eradicated by GCV, although they remain sensitive to GCV when replated in vitro. These limits of the HSV-tk/GCV system in glioma gene therapy may be due to insufficient gene transfer and/or insufficient delivery of GCV to glioma cells. Combination of HSV-tk and one or more cytokines may improve the antitumor efficacy. Among cytokines, interleukin-4 (IL-4) has already been shown to be active against gliomas. In nude mice, GCV treatment inhibited tumor growth more effectively after co-injection of C6 cells with a mixture of VPC transducing IL-4 and HSV-tk genes than after co-injection with either IL-4 or HSV-tk VPC only. In immunocompetent Sprague-Dawley rats, co-injection of IL-4 VPC and C6 cells was also effective in inhibiting the growth of C6 brain tumors, 38% of the animals surviving for at least 2 months. Furthermore, increased and prolonged antitumor efficacy was obtained by transducing both IL-4 and HSV-tk genes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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