Clinical gene therapy needs non invasive tools to evaluate the efficiency of gene transfer. This includes the evaluation of infection efficiency as well as the verification of successfull gene transfer in terms of gene transcription. These informations can be used for therapy planning, follow up studies in treated tumors and as an indicator of prognosis. Therapy planning is performed by the assessment of gene expression for example using radiolabeled specific substrates to determine the activity of suicide enzymes as the Herpes Simplex Virus thymidine kinase or cytosine deaminase. Furthermore, other in vivo reporter genes as receptors, antigens or transport proteins may be used in bicistronic vector systems for the evaluation of gene transduction and expression. This is done using radiolabeled ligands, antigens or substrates. Follow up studies with magnetic resonance imaging, single photon emission tomography or positron emission tomography may be done to evaluate early or late effects of gene therapy on tumor volume, metabolism or proliferation. Finally, enhancement of radioactive isotope accumulation in tumors by transfer of the appropriate genes may be used for the treatment of malignant tumors.
Keywords: Imaging Methods, Gene Therapy, Cancer, Clinical gene therapy, cytosine deaminase, (MRI), HIV-tat protein, SUICIDE GENE THERAPY, GCV treatment