Gene therapy and virotherapy in the treatment of cancer

Published on November 4, 2014 Reviewed on July 12, 2022   46 min

Other Talks in the Series: Immunotherapy of Cancer

Other Talks in the Series: Gene Transfer and Gene Therapy

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My name is Leonard Seymour. I'm professor of gene therapy at the University of Oxford. And I'm going to talk to you today about gene therapy and virotherapy for the treatment of cancer. And I'll tell you where I think we are with this field, what are the main aspects of the field which have been important, and what we can expect from the field.
So in terms of the lecture, I'll speak briefly about the background of cancer to give some introduction to what I think are the important contexts and why gene therapy and virotherapy are useful treatments. I'll talk about cancer gene therapy. Specifically I'll mention the challenge of delivering DNA and viruses to tumors. And I'll talk about some of the approaches which have been employed using p53 replacement and TNF. But mainly I'm going to talk about the use of virotherapy, what it is, why it's good, how it works. And I'll give some examples of the sorts of treatments which are being developed and where they are clinically and where we're expecting them to go.
So if I might start talking about the hallmarks of cancer, this is a concept that has been developed over the last several years as being the features that distinguish tumor cells from normal cells. Hanahan and Weinberg put together the exposition of this. And they've developed it again recently. And there are now about 10 different hallmarks of cancer. These are features which tumors and tumor cells develop which make them distinct from normal cells and gives us an opportunity for intervention. So for example, they evade apoptosis. They are self-sufficient in maintaining their growth. They tend to be insensitive to signals that turn off growth. They grow limitlessly. Many other aspects, several of which are exploited in chemotherapy. But increasingly, many of which are being developed in the field of virotherapy. So I will pick up on several of these different features of tumors as ways that we can develop viruses that will selectively treat tumors.

Gene therapy and virotherapy in the treatment of cancer

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