Microbubble-delivered combination therapy eradicates prostate cancer. Scientists combined an anti-cancer drug with a viral gene therapy in vivo using novel ultrasound-targeted microbubble-destruction (UTMD) technology to create an antidote for the potent tumor.
Studies previously showed that the gene, mda-7/IL-24 increases apoptosis in tumour cells, preventing tumour growth and blood vessel formation. It synergizes with other cancer treatments and also regulates cellular immune responses while having no ill effects on normal, healthy cells.
"Successful execution of viral gene therapy is typically limited by the body's natural defenses, such as trapping the virus in the liver and attacking the virus with its natural immune system response," said Paul B. Fisher, professor and chair of the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics in the VCU School of Medicine.
"This study not only identifies a potential new therapy for prostate cancer, it also provides a new way of using therapeutic viruses that could transform the way we deliver viral gene therapy," he added.
In this study, a weakened adenovirus (a virus that is typically associated with respiratory infections) engineered to deliver the tumor-suppressing gene mda-7/IL-24 was joined to the microbubbles and delivered through the blood stream directly into the prostate.
Scientists claim that UTMD's ability to systematically target a disease site could revolutionize gene therapy.
The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.