Personalized gene therapy to fight against cancer

The fight to treat cancer and eradicate tumors will likely benefit from a new set of treatments if early development phases continue to show promise, according to Kalorama Information. The healthcare market research publisher stated that gene therapies that are able to deliver genetic material to a specific cell population or tumor that will result in the destruction of the tumor. Gene therapies have already found clinical successes in the treatment of several non-cancer diseases, though the oncolytic or immune system-assisted destruction of tumors relies on specific mechanisms not necessarily transferrable from other gene therapies. In Personalized Gene Therapy for Cancer, Kalorama Information provides a comprehensive look at the nascent market for gene therapies in cancer treatment.

"Gene therapies for cancer are ideal and potentially much more effective for certain cancer types when using a targeted approach (cancer cell specificity) and recruiting the patient's own immune system," said Bruce Carlson, Publisher of Kalorama Information. "Advanced forms of cancer are able to progress due to the immune system's inability to recognize the threat."

Kalorama estimates a $100 billion-dollar market for cancer treatments, which the firm says is fueling new solutions. Kalorama's report says that gene therapies for cancer that have progressed through clinical trials predominantly use a two-pronged approach in attacking cancer: the use of oncolytic agents (engineered viruses) and the introduction of genetic material that enables immune system recognition of tumor cells. The following is a partial review of prospective clinical gene therapies for cancer that are in Phase III trials:

  • Advantagene's Gene Mediated Cytotoxic Immunotherapy (GMCI) gene therapy technique is featured in the Phase III study begun 2011 for newly diagnosed prostate cancer. The GMCI ProstAtak therapy uses an adenovirus vector to deliver (mediate) the delivery of a herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (tk) gene to tumor cells at the site of the injection. The tk gene works as a 'suicide gene' that allows for the enzymatic conversion of a non-toxic, antiviral drug Valacyclovir into a cytotoxic drug that causes tumor cell death during radiotherapy.
  • VBL Therapeutics plans to begin Phase III trials for its VB-111 lead product for the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma multiforme in mid-2015. The gene therapy targets a highly malignant type of brain tumor that generates vasculature tissue in a process known as angiogenesis. Angiogenic tumors are the target of VBL's Vascular Targeting System (VTS). VB-111 is intended for combination with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
  • Amgen demonstrated in its recent Phase III trial that its talimogene laherparepvec (T-Vec) gene therapy resulted in tumor shrinkage and remission for metastatic melanoma patients. Amgen is seeking to improve its T-Vec therapy in clinical trials for melanoma by pairing it with oncology drugs.
  • Cold Genesys is advancing to Phase III trials for its adenovirus-mediated oncolytic gene therapy targeting invasive bladder cancer. Similar to T-Vec, Cold Genesys' CG0070 modified virus contains a cancer-specific promoter sequence and GM-CSF-encoding sequence that serves to selectively lyse cancer cells and release GM-CSF antigen to train the immune system. Cold Genesys underwent a round of financing in mid-2014 with the goal of funding CG0070's Phase III trials.

Kalorama Information's Personalized Gene Therapy for Cancer reviews the many more gene therapies for cancer that are in development, including Phase I and II trials. The report also explores the future market for gene therapies in cancer treatment and identifies the most appealing applications of gene therapy by cancer type.


Kalorama Information


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