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Lancet Oncol. 2002 Jan;3(1):17-26.

Oncolytic biotherapy: a novel therapeutic plafform.

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Imperial College School of Medicine, Imperial Cancer Research Fund Programme for Viral and Genetic Therapy of Cancer, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK.


There is a clear need for new, selective, cancer treatments that do not cause the cross-resistance which occurs with currently available chemotherapeutic agents. Gene therapy is a promising approach, but to date, it has shown limited effectiveness in clinical trials because of insufficient gene transduction. Many investigators are now revisiting the 'old' idea of using tumour-specific, replication-selective viruses or bacteria to treat cancer. These agents can be directly oncolytic, but can also be used to simultaneously express therapeutic genes in target cells or induce tumour-specific, cell-mediated immunity. We discuss the promise of this rapidly evolving field and examine the potential barriers to its success.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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