Suicide gene therapy in cancer can selectively kill tumors without damaging normal tissues. Drosophila melanogaster multisubstrate deoxyribonucleoside kinase ( Dm-dNK), an original suicide kinase, makes use of the carcinomatous suicide gene therapy for broader substrate specificity and a higher catalytic rate.
To enhance the anti-tumor efficacy of Dm-dNK and maintain its substrate specificity and safety control in the meantime, the conditionally replicative gene–viral system, ZD55–dNK (which contains the selective replication adenovirus, ZD55, encoded with Dm-dNK), was investigated in pushing a deeper development of this strategy. Selective replication, cell killing efficacy, and cytotoxicity, in combination with chemotherapy, were applied to two breast cell lines (MDA231 and MCF7 cells), two normal cell lines (WI38 and MRC5 cells), and the MCF7 xenograft model in vivo.
The preclinical study showed that ZD55–dNK, combined with 2′,2′-difluorodeoxycytidine (DFDC), synergistically inhibited adenovirus replication in vitro but maintained specifically cancer cell killing efficacy. ZD55–dNK also greatly improved the antineoplastic effect in vitro and in breast cancer xenograft in vivo.