Sunday, June 04, 2006

Gene Therapy Experiment for Ovarian Cancer

This report via Reuters notes that gene therapy experiments to treat ovarian cancer in mice have been successful. Here is a snippet from the report:

The ovarian cancer study suggests a new route for treating a deadly cancer that kills 16,000 women a year in the United States alone. Most ovarian cancer patients live four years or less after they are diagnosed.

"Current treatments for ovarian cancer are fairly harsh. (Gene therapy) ... represents a potent, non-toxic alternative for treating this deadly disease," Dr. David Bartlett at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School said in a statement.

Speaking at a meeting of the American Society of Gene Therapy in Baltimore, Bartlett and colleagues said they injected mice with ovarian cancer cells.

They treated some of the mice immediately with a virus genetically engineered to carry cytosine deaminase, a so-called suicide gene that helps cancerous cells self-destruct.
Some other mice were treated with the gene therapy 30 or 60 days later, while a third group was given no treatment.

Tumors did not grew in the mice that were treated immediately with gene therapy, and those treated a month or two later had tumors that grew only very slowly. The untreated mice either died or had to be euthanized because of their quick cancer progression.

The National Ovarian Cancer Association has a useful website that contains some statistics and information about the symptoms and treatments for ovarian cancer. Click here.