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Gene Therapy
Gene Therapy for Cancer Treatment: Past, Present and Future

 The broad field of gene therapy promises a number of innovative treatments that are likely to become important in preventing deaths from cancer. In this review, we discuss the history, highlights and future of three different gene therapy treatment approaches: immunotherapy, oncolytic virotherapy and gene transfer. Immunotherapy uses genetically modified cells and viral particles to stimulate the immune system to destroy cancer cells. Recent clinical trials of second and third generation vaccines have shown encouraging results with a wide range of cancers, including lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer and malignant melanoma. Oncolytic virotherapy, which uses viral particles that replicate within the cancer cell to cause cell death, is an emerging treatment modality that shows great promise, particularly with metastatic cancers. Initial phase I trials for several vectors have generated excitement over the potential power of this technique. Gene transfer is a new treatment modality that introduces new genes into a cancerous cell or the surrounding tissue.....See Full Article

CD7-restricted activation of Fas-mediated apoptosis: a novel therapeutic approach for acute T-cell leukemia

 Agonistic anti-Fas antibodies and multimeric recombinant Fas ligand (FasL) preparations show high tumoricidal activity against leukemic cells, but are unsuitable for clinical application due to unacceptable systemic toxicity. Consequently, new antileukemia strategies based on Fas activation have to meet the criterion of strictly localized action at the tumor-cell surface. Recent insight into the FasL/Fas system has revealed that soluble homotrimeric FasL (sFasL) is in fact nontoxic to normal cells, but also lacks tumoricidal activity. We report on a novel fusion protein, designated scFvCD7:sFasL, that is designed to have leukemia-restricted activity. ScFvCD7:sFasL consists of sFasL genetically linked to a high-affinity single-chain fragment of variable regions (scFv) antibody fragment specific for the T-cell leukemia-associated antigen CD7. Soluble homotrimeric or ....See Full Article

Lymphangiogenesis and Angiogenesis in Bladder Cancer: Prognostic Implications and Regulation by Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors-A, -C, and -D

Metastatic dissemination of the primary tumor is an important factor that negatively affects the prognosis in most malignancies and neovascularization (angiogenesis) plays a critical role in tumor growth and systemic dissemination of cancer cells. As such, much attention has been focused on the pathologic significance and detailed mechanism of the vascular system and angiogenesis in cancers. In addition to dissemination of cancer cells via the bloodstream, the lymphatic system is also thought to play an important role in tumor cell dissemination. Indeed, metastatic spread to regional lymph nodes is an early step in the systemic dissemination of tumors, and lymph node metastasis is generally associated with poor survival. However, the clinical significance of the de novo formation of lymphatic capillaries (lymphangiogenesis) and its regulation in cancer remains unclear, largely because specific endothelial markers for lymphatic vessels are unknown and lymphatic vessels .....See Full Article

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