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      Progress and Problems with the Use of Suicide Genes for Targeted Cancer Therapy


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          Among various gene therapy methods for cancer, suicide gene therapy attracts a special attention because it allows selective conversion of non-toxic compounds into cytotoxic drugs inside cancer cells. As a result, therapeutic index can be increased significantly by introducing high concentrations of cytotoxic molecules to the tumor environment while minimizing impact on normal tissues. Despite significant success at the preclinical level, no cancer suicide gene therapy protocol has delivered the desirable clinical significance yet. This review gives a critical look at the six main enzyme/prodrug systems that are used in suicide gene therapy of cancer and familiarizes readers with the state-of-the-art research and practices in this field. For each enzyme/prodrug system, the mechanisms of action, protein engineering strategies to enhance enzyme stability/affinity and chemical modification techniques to increase prodrug kinetics and potency are discussed. In each category, major clinical trials that have been performed in the past decade with each enzyme/prodrug system are discussed to highlight the progress to date. Finally, shortcomings are underlined and areas that need improvement in order to produce clinical significance are delineated.

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          Progress and problems with the use of viral vectors for gene therapy.

          Gene therapy has a history of controversy. Encouraging results are starting to emerge from the clinic, but questions are still being asked about the safety of this new molecular medicine. With the development of a leukaemia-like syndrome in two of the small number of patients that have been cured of a disease by gene therapy, it is timely to contemplate how far this technology has come, and how far it still has to go.
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            Drug targeting to tumors: principles, pitfalls and (pre-) clinical progress.

            Many different systems and strategies have been evaluated for drug targeting to tumors over the years. Routinely used systems include liposomes, polymers, micelles, nanoparticles and antibodies, and examples of strategies are passive drug targeting, active drug targeting to cancer cells, active drug targeting to endothelial cells and triggered drug delivery. Significant progress has been made in this area of research both at the preclinical and at the clinical level, and a number of (primarily passively tumor-targeted) nanomedicine formulations have been approved for clinical use. Significant progress has also been made with regard to better understanding the (patho-) physiological principles of drug targeting to tumors. This has led to the identification of several important pitfalls in tumor-targeted drug delivery, including I) overinterpretation of the EPR effect; II) poor tumor and tissue penetration of nanomedicines; III) misunderstanding of the potential usefulness of active drug targeting; IV) irrational formulation design, based on materials which are too complex and not broadly applicable; V) insufficient incorporation of nanomedicine formulations in clinically relevant combination regimens; VI) negligence of the notion that the highest medical need relates to metastasis, and not to solid tumor treatment; VII) insufficient integration of non-invasive imaging techniques and theranostics, which could be used to personalize nanomedicine-based therapeutic interventions; and VIII) lack of (efficacy analyses in) proper animal models, which are physiologically more relevant and more predictive for the clinical situation. These insights strongly suggest that besides making ever more nanomedicine formulations, future efforts should also address some of the conceptual drawbacks of drug targeting to tumors, and that strategies should be developed to overcome these shortcomings. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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              First-in-humans trial of an RNA interference therapeutic targeting VEGF and KSP in cancer patients with liver involvement.

              RNA interference (RNAi) is a potent and specific mechanism for regulating gene expression. Harnessing RNAi to silence genes involved in disease holds promise for the development of a new class of therapeutics. Delivery is key to realizing the potential of RNAi, and lipid nanoparticles (LNP) have proved effective in delivery of siRNAs to the liver and to tumors in animals. To examine the activity and safety of LNP-formulated siRNAs in humans, we initiated a trial of ALN-VSP, an LNP formulation of siRNAs targeting VEGF and kinesin spindle protein (KSP), in patients with cancer. Here, we show detection of drug in tumor biopsies, siRNA-mediated mRNA cleavage in the liver, pharmacodynamics suggestive of target downregulation, and antitumor activity, including complete regression of liver metastases in endometrial cancer. In addition, we show that biweekly intravenous administration of ALN-VSP was safe and well tolerated. These data provide proof-of-concept for RNAi therapeutics in humans and form the basis for further development in cancer. The fi ndings in this report show safety, pharmacokinetics, RNAi mechanism of action, and clinical activity with a novel fi rst-in-class LNP-formulated RNAi therapeutic in patients with cancer. The ability to harness RNAi to facilitate specifi c multitargeting, as well as increase the number of druggable targets, has important implications for future drug development in oncology. ©2012 AACR.

                Author and article information

                Adv Drug Deliv Rev
                Adv. Drug Deliv. Rev.
                Advanced drug delivery reviews
                29 May 2015
                22 May 2015
                1 April 2016
                01 April 2017
                : 99
                : Pt A
                : 113-128
                [a ]Department of Pharmaceutics, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ, USA 08855
                [b ]Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, USA 08903
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence should be addressed to: Arash Hatefi (Pharm.D., Ph.D.), Department of Pharmaceutics, Room 222, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 160 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854–8020, Tel: +1-848-445-6366, Fax: +1-732-445-3134, ahatefi@ 123456pharmacy.rutgers.edu
                PMC4758904 PMC4758904 4758904 nihpa694567

                bystander effect,enzyme prodrug,thymidine kinase,gene therapy,nitroreductase,cytosine deaminase,GDEPT,ganciclovir,CB1954,5-FC


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