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Brain Pathol. 1995 Oct;5(4):345-81.

Gene therapy for brain tumors.

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Neuroscience Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, USA.


Gene therapy has opened new doors for treatment of neoplastic diseases. This new approach seems very attractive, especially for glioblastomas, since treatment of these brain tumors has failed using conventional therapy regimens. Many different modes of gene therapy for brain tumors have been tested in culture and in vivo. Many of these approaches are based on previously established anti-neoplastic principles, like prodrug activating enzymes, inhibition of tumor neovascularization, and enhancement of the normally weak anti-tumor immune response. Delivery of genes to tumor cells has been mediated by a number of viral and synthetic vectors. The most widely used paradigm is based on the activation of ganciclovir to a cytotoxic compound by a viral enzyme, thymidine kinase, which is expressed by tumor cells, after the gene has been introduced by a retroviral vector. This paradigm has proven to be a potent therapy with minimal side effects in several rodent brain tumor models, and has proceeded to phase 1 clinical trials. In this review, current gene therapy strategies and vector systems for treatment of brain tumors will be described and discussed in light of further developments needed to make this new treatment modality clinically efficacious.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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