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Cancer Gene Ther. 1996 May-Jun;3(3):175-85.

Plasmid DNA gene therapy: studies with the human interleukin-2 gene in tumor cells in vitro and in the murine B16 melanoma model in vivo.

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Vical, Inc., San Diego, CA 92121, USA.


The plasmid DNA vector pVCL-1102 containing the coding sequence for the human IL-2 gene was evaluated for expression in tumor cells in vitro and in vivo. In vitro transfection of murine B16 tumor cells with pVCL-1102 resulted in the expression of 36,000 IU (5.7 micrograms) of biologically active IL-2/10(6) cells/48 h. In vitro transfection of human tumor lines and primary cultures from human biopsies with pVCL-1102 resulted in the expression of 1,289 to 9345 IU of IL-2/10(6) cells/48 h and 30 to 794 IU of IL-2/10(6) cells/48 h, respectively. In vivo, direct intratumor injection of pVCL-1102 resulted in retention of intact plasmid DNA in the tumor tissue and IL-2 secretion by cell cultures derived from the injected tumors. Formulation of pVCL-1102 with the cationic lipid DMRIE/DOPE inhibited DNA degradation and enhanced in vivo transfection efficiency over plasmid DNA alone. Antitumor activity of the pVCL-1102/DMRIE/DOPE complex was evaluated in a B16 melanoma model in mice. An IL-2-specific effect could not be demonstrated in a subcutaneous model because the intratumor injection of plasmid DNA lacking the IL-2 coding sequence also resulted in a significant reduction in tumor volume. However, an IL-2-specific effect was observed when B16 cells were transfected in vitro prior to implantation into the mouse. Transient transfection of B16 cells with pVCL-1102 rendered the cells less tumorigenic in vivo and produced a significant reduction in tumor volume. These data demonstrate that a plasmid DNA expression vector can be used to deliver the IL-2 gene to tumor cells in vitro and in vivo, resulting in the expression of significant levels of IL-2 protein. These data also illustrate the need for the use of appropriate controls when evaluating the in vivo biological activity of plasmid DNA in murine tumor models.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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