New Gene Therapy Strategies for Cancer Treatment: A Review of Recent Patents
- Pp. 272-318 (47)Raúl Ortiz, Consolación Melguizo, José Prados, Pablo J. Álvarez, Octavio Caba, Fernando Rodríguez-Serrano, Fidel Hita and Antonia Aránega
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the Western world. The limited successes of available treatments for cancer means that new strategies need to be developed. The possibility of modifying the cancer cell with the introduction of genetic material opens the way to a new approach based on gene therapy. There are still many technical difficulties to overcome, but recent advances in the molecular and cellular biology of gene transfer have made it likely that gene therapy will soon start to play an increasing role in clinical practice, particularly in the treatment of cancer. Gene therapy will probably be the therapeutic option in cases in which conventional treatments such as surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy have failed. The development of modified vectors, and an improved understanding of interactions between the vector and the human host, is generating inventions that are being protected by patents due to the considerable interest of industry for their possible commercialization. We review the latest strategies, patented and/or under clinical trial, in cancer gene therapy. These include patents that cover the use of modified vectors to increase the security and specificity, recombining adenovirus that leads to loss or gain of gene function, activation of the patient's own immune cells to eliminate cancer cells by expression of molecules that enhance immune responses, silencing genes related to the development of drug resistance in patients, inhibition of angiogenesis of solid tumors by targeting the tumor vasculature, and the development of enzymes that destroy viral or cancerous genetic material.