Gene-based therapy is a promising and flexible therapeutic approach to manage diverse types of cancer. The lack of convincing therapeutic success of current gene therapy protocols in part, can be attributed to the inability to monitor gene expression at the targeted site in the living subject. Linking molecular imaging to gene therapy will enable real-time assessment of the therapeutic process and the refinement of treatment protocols. This review will cover two common imaging modalities, positron emission tomography (PET) and bioluminescence imaging (BLI), used in preclinical and clinical gene therapy applications. Strategies to develop more specific and robust cancer gene therapy and imaging approaches will be discussed. Coupling PET to gene therapy of cancer has already been implemented in several clinical studies. This approach would help to improve the efficacy and safety of future gene therapy clinical trials.
Keywords: PET, BLI, gene therapy of cancer, transcriptional amplification, targeted gene expression and delivery
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