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Vaporized viral vector shows promise in anti-cancer gene therapy
Date:6/8/2009

A new lung cancer therapy employing a vaporized viral vector to deliver a cancer-inhibiting molecule directly to lung tissue shows early promise in mouse trials, according to researchers at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in Korea.

Gene therapy is an area of great promise, but delivery mechanisms, which have included intravenous injection and intratracheal instillation, have proven problematic for effective delivery of genetic therapy to lung tissues.

"Aerosol delivery targets the lungs specifically and represents a noninvasive alternative for targeting genes to the lung," wrote Myung-Haing Cho, D.V.M., Ph.D., professor at Seoul National University and principal investigator of the study. "The delivery of genes via aerosol holds promise for the treatment of a broad spectrum of pulmonary disorders and offers numerous advantages over more invasive modes of delivery."

The results of Dr. Cho's promising research will be published in the June 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths worldwide, killing more people each year than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined. It costs the U.S. alone more than $9 billion a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most available therapiessurgery, radiation and chemotherapyoffer transient relief at best and are typically ineffective in advanced stages of the disease. For this reason, novel therapies for lung cancer are of great interest.

Dr. Cho and colleagues targeted the Akt signaling pathway, which has been shown to be an important regulator of cell proliferation and cancer progression. A recent report found that 90 percent of non-small cell lung carcinomas were associated with the activation of the Akt signaling pathway. They chose a lentiviral vector, derived from a retrovirus and known for its ability to infect nondividing cells and e
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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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