alexa Suicide Gene Therapy for Cancer – Current Strategies | OMICS International | Abstract
ISSN: 2157-7412

Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy
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Review Article

Suicide Gene Therapy for Cancer – Current Strategies

Paul Zarogoulidis1,2, Kaid Darwiche2, Antonios Sakkas3, Lonny Yarmus4, Haidong Huang5, Qiang Li5, Lutz Freitag2, Konstantinos Zarogoulidis1, Marek Malecki6,7*

1Pulmonary Department-Oncology Unit, “G. Papanikolaou” General Hospital, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece, EU

2Department of Interventional Pneumology, Ruhrlandklinik, West German Lung Center, University Hospital, University Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany, EU

3Pathology Department, “G. Papanikolaou” General Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece

4Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA

5Department of Respiratory Diseases, Changhai Hospital/First Affiliated Hospital of the Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China

6Phoenix Biomolecular Engineering Foundation, San Francisco, CA, USA

7University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA

*Corresponding Author:
Marek Malecki MD PhD, PBMEF
San Francisco, CA, USA
Tel: 4157134370
Fax: 4157134371; Skype: MM_PBMEF
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: April 30, 2013; Accepted date:August 07, 2013; Published date: August 09, 2013

Citation: Zarogoulidis P, et al. (2013) Suicide Gene Therapy for Cancer – Current Strategies. J Genet Syndr Gene Ther 4: 139. doi:10.4172/2157-7412.1000139

Copyright: © 2013 Marek Malecki, MD PhD. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Current cancer treatments may create profound iatrogenic outcomes. The adverse effects of these treatments still remain, as the serious problems that practicing physicians have to cope with in clinical practice. Although, nonspecific cytotoxic agents constitute an effective treatment modality against cancer cells, they also tend to kill normal, quickly dividing cells. On the other hand, therapies targeting the genome of the tumors are both under investigation, and some others are already streamlined to clinical practice. Several approaches have been investigated in order to find a treatment targeting the cancer cells, while not affecting the normal cells. Suicide gene therapy is a therapeutic strategy, in which cell suicide inducing transgenes are introduced into cancer cells. The two major suicide gene therapeutic strategies currently pursued are: cytosine deaminase/5- fluorocytosine and the herpes simplex virus/ganciclovir. The novel strategies include silencing gene expression, expression of intracellular antibodies blocking cells’ vital pathways, and transgenic expression of caspases and DNases. We analyze various elements of cancer cells’ suicide inducing strategies including: targets, vectors, and mechanisms. These strategies have been extensively investigated in various types of cancers, while exploring multiple delivery routes including viruses, non-viral vectors, liposomes, nanoparticles, and stem cells. We discuss various stages of streamlining of the suicide gene therapy into clinical oncology as applied to different types of cancer. Moreover, suicide gene therapy is in the center of attention as a strategy preventing cancer from developing in patients participating in the clinical trials of regenerative medicine. In oncology, these clinical trials are aimed at regenerating, with the aid of stem cells, of the patients’ organs damaged by pathologic and/or iatrogenic factors. However, the stem cells carry the risk of neoplasmic transformation. We discuss cell suicide inducing strategies aimed at preventing stem cell-originated cancerogenesis.


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