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Br J Cancer. 2007 Aug 20;97(4):513-22. Epub 2007 Jul 24.

Systemic inhibition of tumour angiogenesis by endothelial cell-based gene therapy.

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Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.


Angiogenesis and post-natal vasculogenesis are two processes involved in the formation of new vessels, and both are essential for tumour growth and metastases. We isolated endothelial cells from human blood mononuclear cells by selective culture. These blood outgrowth cells expressed endothelial cell markers and responded correctly to functional assays. To evaluate the potential of blood outgrowth endothelial cells (BOECs) to construct functional vessels in vivo, NOD-SCID mice were implanted with Lewis lung carcinoma cells subcutaneously (s.c.). Blood outgrowth endothelial cells were then injected through the tail vein. Initial distribution of these cells occurred throughout the lung, liver, spleen, and tumour vessels, but they were only found in the spleen, liver, and tumour tissue 48 h after injection. By day 24, they were mainly found in the tumour vasculature. Tumour vessel counts were also increased in mice receiving BOEC injections as compared to saline injections. We engineered BOECs to deliver an angiogenic inhibitor directly to tumour endothelium by transducing them with the gene for human endostatin. These cells maintained an endothelial phenotype and decreased tumour vascularisation and tumour volume in mice. We conclude that BOECs have the potential for tumour-specific delivery of cancer gene therapy.

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