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Cancer gene therapy and immunotherapy (review)

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Gene therapy is a newly hatched field of biomedical research aimed at introducing therapeutically important genes into somatic cells of patients for the treatment of human disease. Whereas for inborn errors of metabolism transfer of a single gene can correct the disorder, cancer is a complex disease involving mutations in a number of protooncogenes and tumor suppressor genes as well as an imbalance and disarray in phosphorylation events and regulatory circuits of the cell cycle; transfer of the wild-type p53 or p21 tumor suppressor genes is a successful gene therapy approach leading to apoptotic death of cancer cells or in restrain of their chaotic growth. A different promising approach is transfer of the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-tk) gene (suicide gene) and systemic treatment with the prodrug ganciclovir which is converted by HSV-tk into a toxic drug killing dividing cells. Expression of suicide genes, p53, and other therapeutic genes preferentially in cancer cells can be achieved by regulatory elements from tumor-specific genes such as carcinoembryonic antigen, BRCA1, and PSA.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1996

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  • The International Journal of Oncology provides an international forum for the publication of the latest, cutting-edge research in the broad area of oncology and cancer treatment. The journal accepts original high quality works and reviews on all aspects of oncology research including carcinogenesis, metastasis, epidemiology, chemotherapy and viral oncology. Through fair and efficient peer review, the journal is dedicated to publishing top tier research in the field, offering authors rapid publication as well as high standards of copy-editing and production. The International Journal of Oncology is published on a monthly basis in both print and early online.
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