• Bacteria as vectors for gene therapy of cancer.

      Baban, Chwanrow K; Cronin, Michelle; O'Hanlon, Deirdre; O'Sullivan, Gerald C; Tangney, Mark; Cork Cancer Research Centre, Mercy University Hospital and Leslie C. Quick Jr., Laboratory, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      Anti-cancer therapy faces major challenges, particularly in terms of specificity of treatment. The ideal therapy would eradicate tumor cells selectively with minimum side effects on normal tissue. Gene or cell therapies have emerged as realistic prospects for the treatment of cancer, and involve the delivery of genetic information to a tumor to facilitate the production of therapeutic proteins. However, there is still much to be done before an efficient and safe gene medicine is achieved, primarily developing the means of targeting genes to tumors safely and efficiently. An emerging family of vectors involves bacteria of various genera. It has been shown that bacteria are naturally capable of homing to tumors when systemically administered resulting in high levels of replication locally. Furthermore, invasive species can deliver heterologous genes intra-cellularly for tumor cell expression. Here, we review the use of bacteria as vehicles for gene therapy of cancer, detailing the mechanisms of action and successes at preclinical and clinical levels.
    • Ex vivo culture of patient tissue & examination of gene delivery.

      Rajendran, Simon; Salwa, Slawomir; Gao, Xuefeng; Tabirca, Sabin; O'Hanlon, Deirdre; O'Sullivan, Gerald C; Tangney, Mark; Cork Cancer Research Centre, Mercy University Hospital and Leslie C. Quick Jnr., Laboratory, University College Cork. (2012-01-31)
      This video describes the use of patient tissue as an ex vivo model for the study of gene delivery. Fresh patient tissue obtained at the time of surgery is sliced and maintained in culture. The ex vivo model system allows for the physical delivery of genes into intact patient tissue and gene expression is analysed by bioluminescence imaging using the IVIS detection system. The bioluminescent detection system demonstrates rapid and accurate quantification of gene expression within individual slices without the need for tissue sacrifice. This slice tissue culture system may be used in a variety of tissue types including normal and malignant tissue and allows us to study the effects of the heterogeneous nature of intact tissue and the high degree of variability between individual patients. This model system could be used in certain situations as an alternative to animal models and as a complementary preclinical mode prior to entering clinical trial.
    • Preclinical evaluation of gene delivery methods for the treatment of loco-regional disease in breast cancer.

      Rajendran, Simon; O'Hanlon, Deirdre; Morrissey, David; O'Donovan, Tracey; O'Sullivan, Gerald C; Tangney, Mark; Cork Cancer Research Centre, Mercy University Hospital and Leslie C Quick Jnr., Laboratory, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      Preclinical results with various gene therapy strategies indicate significant potential for new cancer treatments. However, many therapeutics fail at clinical trial, often due to differences in tissue physiology between animal models and humans, and tumor phenotype variation. Clinical data relevant to treatment strategies may be generated prior to clinical trial through experimentation using intact patient tissue ex vivo. We developed a novel tumor slice model culture system that is universally applicable to gene delivery methods, using a realtime luminescence detection method to assess gene delivery. Methods investigated include viruses (adenovirus [Ad] and adeno-associated virus), lipofection, ultrasound (US), electroporation and naked DNA. Viability and tumor populations within the slices were well maintained for seven days, and gene delivery was qualitatively and quantitatively examinable for all vectors. Ad was the most efficient gene delivery vector with transduction efficiency >50%. US proved the optimal non-viral gene delivery method in human tumor slices. The nature of the ex vivo culture system permitted examination of specific elements. Parameters shown to diminish Ad gene delivery included blood, regions of low viability and secondary disease. US gene delivery was significantly reduced by blood and skin, while tissue hyperthermia improved gene delivery. US achieved improved efficacy for secondary disease. The ex vivo model was also suitable for examination of tissue-specific effects on vector expression, with Ad expression mediated by the CXCR4 promoter shown to provide a tumor selective advantage over the ubiquitously active cytomegalovirus promoter. In conclusion, this is the first study incorporating patient tissue models in comparing gene delivery from various vectors, providing knowledge on cell-type specificity and examining the crucial biological factors determining successful gene delivery. The results highlight the importance of in-depth preclinical assessment of novel therapeutics and may serve as a platform for further testing of current, novel gene delivery approaches.
    • Targeting of breast metastases using a viral gene vector with tumour-selective transcription.

      Rajendran, Simon; Collins, Sara; van Pijkeren, Jan P; O'Hanlon, Deirdre; O'Sullivan, Gerald C; Tangney, Mark; Cork Cancer Research Centre, Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      BACKGROUND: Adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors have significant potential as gene delivery vectors for cancer gene therapy. However, broad AAV2 tissue tropism results in nonspecific gene expression. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We investigated use of the C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4) promoter to restrict AAV expression to tumour cells, in subcutaneous MCF-7 xenograft mouse models of breast cancer and in patient samples, using bioluminescent imaging and flow cytometric analysis. RESULTS: Higher transgene expression levels were observed in subcutaneous MCF-7 tumours relative to normal tissue (muscle) using the CXCR4 promoter, unlike a ubiquitously expressing Cytomegalovirus promoter construct, with preferential AAVCXCR4 expression in epithelial tumour and CXCR4-positive cells. Transgene expression following intravenously administered AAVCXCR4 in a model of liver metastasis was detected specifically in livers of tumour bearing mice. Ex vivo analysis using patient samples also demonstrated higher AAVCXCR4 expression in tumour compared with normal liver tissue. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates for the first time, the potential for systemic administration of AAV2 vector for tumour-selective gene therapy.