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How is Gene Transfection Able to Improve Current Chemotherapy? The Role of Combined Therapy in Cancer Treatment

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Despite advances in cancer treatment, a large number of patients eventually develop metastatic disease that is generally incurable. Systemic chemotherapy remains the standard treatment for these patients. Several chemotherapeutic combinations have proven effective in the management of cancer. Paradoxically, although the purpose of polychemotherapy is to improve the prognosis and prolong the survival of patients, it often carries considerable toxicity that causes substantial adverse symptoms. For this reason, a major goal of cancer research is to improve the effectiveness of these cytotoxic agents and reduce their adverse effects. Gene transfer has been proposed as a new strategy to enhance the efficacy of anti-tumor drugs in the treatment of intractable or metastatic cancers. In fact, the association of gene therapy and drugs (combined therapy) has been reported to increase the anti-proliferative effect of classical treatments in lung, bladder, pancreatic, colorectal and breast cancers, among others. Various especially promising therapies have been proposed in this context, including the use of suicide genes, antisense oligonucleotides, ribozymes and RNA interference. In this chapter, we review recent progress in the development of novel anti-cancer strategies that associate cytotoxic agents with gene transfer to enhance their antitumor effect.

Keywords: Anti-angiogenic therapy; RNAi; cancer; combined therapy; cytotoxic drugs; drug resistance; gene therapy; immunotherapy; ribozymes; suicide gene

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2012

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.

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