Fight oral cancer with gene therapy mouthwash

by Medindia Content Team on  August 7, 2001 at 2:29 PM Research News   - G J E 4
Fight oral cancer with gene therapy mouthwash
A new breakthrough using gene therapy mouthwash promises good results for those with oral cancer. This mouthwash wards off oral cancer by destroying suspicious growths in the mouth before they become malignant. The idea is to attack the pre-cancerous patches by unleashing viruses, which kills cells that contain cancer-causing genes.

Though this is the first study of its kind, scientists are enthusiastic, as the patches have disappeared completely atleast in some patients.

Mostly cancers arise from genetic defects and they accumulate over a lifetime causing cells to grow rampantly and this spreads throughout the body.

Smokers and heavy drinkers frequently develop white or reddish patches in the mouth, which are in most cases premalignant lesions leading on to oral cancer later in life. If untreated this condition can cause fatal complications.

Scientists believed that by targeting these cancer-causing genes, the spread of cancer could be halted. This is the hottest concept in cancer research. Dr. Ezra Cohen of the University of Chicago, who spearheaded the research, reported the results of testing gene therapy mouthwash on 10 patients at a meeting in of American Society of Clinical Oncology in San Francisco.

The treatment consists of adenovirus, a kind of cold virus, that lack a working copy of one gene that ordinarily allows that virus to infect cells with good p53 genes, it should infect only cells with damages p53 genes. In theory, at least, the crippled virus will enter precancerous cells and kill them.

So far this breakthrough treatment has effectively made the patches disappear completely in 10 patients. They have partially cleared up in others. The doctors hope to test the approach in 20 patients. If that goes will, the next step will be experimental treatment in people with especially severe cases of precancerous patches, as well as those who already have had mouth cancer and risk recurrence.

This shows that in future we shall have mouthwash to fight cancer as well as cavities!!!


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