Dr. Richard Vile, Mayo Clinic Molecular Immunologist and his team has found a new virus based gene therapy delivery system for the treatment of cancer, inflammation and autoimmune diseases. The new delivery system acts as a "T cell Therapeutic hitchhiker", by which the Therapeutic virus containing the required genes are transferred into the T cells in the immune system, as the T cells are the immune cells they get attracted towards the cancer cell or inflammatory cells by which it reaches the target cells with the T cells and it delivers the required genes into the Tumor cells making the required alteration in these genes.
The Therapeutic genes when hitches on to the T cells the genes are not detected or eliminated by the immune surveillance of the host immune system due to the masking of the genes by the T cells, it avoids detection and destruction by the host immune system. The study was conducted successfully in mice using human and mouse cancer cells, the results of the study shows that there is a considerable reduction in metastasis or spread of cancer cells.
This gene therapy technique of T cell Hitchhiking has to be tested in humans for specifically targeting the tumor cell or disease condition. The concept works by T cell masking and when it reaches the tumor the viral transporter successfully transfers a gene to both mouse and human tumor cells that infects the cells. Dr Richard said, "Any clinical situation in which cells home to disease sites -- such as inflammation or autoimmune disease -- might benefit from this approach,"