Major Advances With Cancer Gene Therapy

Cancer gene therapy has made major advances since the excitement of early unrealistic promises.

Obstacles such as poor efficiency of gene transfer, lack of tumour specificity, loss of sustained expression, and undesired toxic effects remain relevant, but the promise is there, believe Dr Debabrata Banerjee and Dr Joseph Bertino of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

They point out in a review of clinical trials, that hopes have been raised by recent success in retrovirus-mediated gene transfer and expression of the yC cytokine receptor subunit and subsequent correction of the severe combined immunodeficiency phenotype in two infants, and correction of haemophilia due to deficiency of factor IX by transfer of the factor IX gene with adeno-associated virus.

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