Author(s): Sarkar D, Su ZZ, Vozhilla N, Park ES, Randolph A,
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Abstract Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive neoplasm with no current viable, effective treatment options. In the majority of cases, at first diagnosis, pancreatic cancer has already become metastatic so that conventional treatment regimens provide minimal, if any, clinical benefit in prolonging life or ameliorating the negative prognosis of this disease. These harsh realities underscore the need for developing improved treatment paradigms for this cancer, with gene therapy and immunotherapy currently being evaluated as potential therapeutic options. We currently describe an adenovirus-based therapy for successfully managing pancreatic cancer, the cancer terminator virus (CTV), which is founded on targeted induction of viral replication from a cancer-specific progression elevated gene-3 (PEG-3) promoter (PEG-Prom) and immune modulation by IFN-gamma. The PEG-Prom functions selectively in cancer cells of diverse lineages compared with their normal cellular counterparts. In the CTV, the PEG-Prom drives expression of the adenoviral early region 1A (E1A) gene, necessary for virus replication, with IFN-gamma simultaneously being expressed from the E3 region. Infection of normal cells and pancreatic cancer cells with the CTV confirmed cancer cell-selective adenoviral replication, robust IFN-gamma production coupled with virus replication, growth inhibition, and apoptosis induction. Infection of established pancreatic tumors in nude mice with the CTV promoted viral replication, IFN-gamma production, and activation of antitumor immunity resulting in complete eradication of both primary and distant tumors, curing animals of disease. The CTV provides a novel reagent for treating pancreatic and other human cancers with potential for eliminating both primary tumors and metastatic disease.
This article was published in Cancer Res
and referenced in Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy