Cancer arises as a direct result of genetic mutations. It therefore stands to reason that cancer should be well suited for the correction through gene therapy. Recent advances in the understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of cancer and the rapid development of recombinant DNA technology have made cancer gene therapy feasible in the clinical setting. The current efforts for cancer gene therapy mainly focus on immunogene therapy, chemogene therapy, restoration of tumor suppressor gene function, and oncolytic virus therapy. Central to all these therapies is the development of efficient vectors for gene delivery - this remains a work in progress. These vectors can be classified as viral and non-viral vectors. This paper will concentrate on viral vectors because of their practical advantages over non-viral vectors. Of the viral vectors, by far the most important are the human adenoviruses as is reflected by the enormous data and literature accumulated by studies relating to animal tumor models and clinical trials. In this review, we examine the recent progress in adenovirus-mediated cancer gene therapy with regard to cytokine gene, tumor suppressor gene, chemogene, and oncolytic adenovirus. We also discuss the current limitations of the adenoviral vector system and how they may be circumvented in future developments relating to targeted gene delivery.
Keywords: Cancer Gene Therapy, Adenovirus Mediated Gene Transfer, recombinant DNA, immunodeficiency, keratoconjunctivitis, retroviruses, insertional mutagenesis, virus thymidine kinase, allogeneic tumor cells, T cell mediated immunity, Genetic mutations
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