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Med Oncol. 2014 Aug;31(8):110. doi: 10.1007/s12032-014-0110-9. Epub 2014 Jul 11.

Bacteriophages and medical oncology: targeted gene therapy of cancer.

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Department of Genetics, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, P.O.Box: 14115-154, Tehran, Iran.


Targeted gene therapy of cancer is of paramount importance in medical oncology. Bacteriophages, viruses that specifically infect bacterial cells, offer a variety of potential applications in biomedicine. Their genetic flexibility to go under a variety of surface modifications serves as a basis for phage display methodology. These surface manipulations allow bacteriophages to be exploited for targeted delivery of therapeutic genes. Moreover, the excellent safety profile of these viruses paves the way for their potential use as cancer gene therapy platforms. The merge of phage display and combinatorial technology has led to the emergence of phage libraries turning phage display into a high throughput technology. Random peptide libraries, as one of the most frequently used phage libraries, provide a rich source of clinically useful peptide ligands. Peptides are known as a promising category of pharmaceutical agents in medical oncology that present advantages such as inexpensive synthesis, efficient tissue penetration and the lack of immunogenicity. Phage peptide libraries can be screened, through biopanning, against various targets including cancer cells and tissues that results in obtaining cancer-homing ligands. Cancer-specific peptides isolated from phage libraries show huge promise to be utilized for targeting of various gene therapy vectors towards malignant cells. Beyond doubt, bacteriophages will play a more impressive role in the future of medical oncology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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