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Gene therapy method targets tumor blood vessels

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Posted December 27, 2013
Gene therapy method targets tumor blood vessels
Embargoed until 5 p.m. ET Monday, Dec. 23, 2013. Working in mice, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report developing a gene delivery method long sought in the field of gene therapy: a deactivated virus carrying a gene of interest that can be injected into the bloodstream and make its way to the right cells. The scientists designed a viral vector that homes in on the abnormal blood vessels of tumors, opening up new therapeutic possibilities for gene therapy against cancer and other conditions that involve abnormal vasculature. In one case, the primary kidney tumor spread to an ovary. The vectors gathering in the metastatic tumor vessels glow green, above. The red staining shows the normal blood vessels of the ovary. Credit: Curiel, Arbeit
Working in mice, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report developing a gene delivery method long sought in the field of gene therapy: a deactivated virus carrying a gene of interest that can be injected into the bloodstream and make its way to the right cells.

In this early proof-of-concept study, the scientists have shown that they can target tumor blood vessels in mice without affecting healthy tissues.

“Most current gene therapies in humans involve taking cells out of the body, modifying them and putting them back in,” said David T. Curiel, MD, PhD, distinguished professor of radiation oncology. “This limits gene therapy to conditions affecting tissues like the blood or bone marrow that can be removed, treated and returned to the patient. Today, even after 30 years of research, we can’t inject a viral vector to deliver a gene and have it go to the right place.”

 

Read more at: MedicalXpress

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