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Mol Imaging. 2002 Jan-Mar;1(1):43-55.

Molecular imaging of gene expression and efficacy following adenoviral-mediated brain tumor gene therapy.

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University of Michigan School of Medicine, USA.


Cancer gene therapy is an active area of research relying upon the transfer and subsequent expression of a therapeutic transgene into tumor cells in order to provide for therapeutic selectivity. Noninvasive assessment of therapeutic response and correlation of the location, magnitude, and duration of transgene expression in vivo would be particularly useful in the development of cancer gene therapy protocols by facilitating optimization of gene transfer protocols, vector development, and prodrug dosing schedules. In this study, we developed an adenoviral vector containing both the therapeutic transgene yeast cytosine deaminase (yCD) along with an optical reporter gene (luciferase). Following intratumoral injection of the vector into orthotopic 9 L gliomas, anatomical and diffusion-weighted MR images were obtained over time in order to provide for quantitative assessment of overall therapeutic efficacy and spatial heterogeneity of cell kill, respectively. In addition, bioluminescence images were acquired to assess the duration and magnitude of gene expression. MR images revealed significant reduction in tumor growth rates associated with yCD/5-fluorocytosine (5FC) gene therapy. Significant increases in mean tumor diffusion values were also observed during treatment with 5FC. Moreover, spatial heterogeneity in tumor diffusion changes were also observed revealing that diffusion magnetic resonance imaging could detect regional therapeutic effects due to the nonuniform delivery and/or expression of the therapeutic yCD transgene within the tumor mass. In addition, in vivo bioluminescence imaging detected luciferase gene expression, which was found to decrease over time during administration of the prodrug providing a noninvasive surrogate marker for monitoring gene expression. These results demonstrate the efficacy of the yCD/5FC strategy for the treatment of brain tumors and reveal the feasibility of using multimodality molecular and functional imaging for assessment of gene expression and therapeutic efficacy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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