Cancer gene therapy has been intensively developed using non-viral vectors, among which cationic liposomes and nanoparticles are the most thoroughly investigated. For targeted delivery to tumors, vitamin folic acid has been utilized for folate receptor (FR)-mediated drug delivery, since FR is frequently overexpressed on many types of human tumors. Liposomes conjugated to folate ligand have been used as carriers of chemotherapeutic agents and DNA to receptor- bearing tumor cells in vitro. As an alternative treatment for prostate cancer, suicide gene therapy by local injection using an adenoviral vector has been reported, but not that using non-viral vectors. The folate-linked, lipid-based nanoparticles which we developed could deliver genes extensively to FR-negative LNCaP and PC-3 cells, as well as FRpositive KB and Hela cells. In this review, we outline folate-linked liposomes and nanoparticles, and show the effectiveness of folate-linked, lipid-based nanoparticles as a vector for DNA transfection and for suicide gene therapy, to treat human nasopharyngeal and prostate tumors.
Keywords: cationic nanoparticles, folic acid, gene therapy, thymidine kinase, ganciclovir, prostate cancer, cancer therapy
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