Gene therapy of viral hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma
Ruiz J, Qian C, Drozdzik M, Prieto J.
Department of Medicine, Medical School, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.
Gene therapy represents an attractive approach to treat a great variety of diseases, both inherited and acquired, and it is moving slowly from a proof-of-principle phase to a wide application in most medical fields.
Liver cancer and viral hepatitis are natural targets for this new therapeutic alternative due to the lack of success of conventional antitumoral and antiviral treatments and the ominous prognosis related with liver tumours. Gene therapy for viral hepatitis is aimed to boost the patient immune response against viral antigens or to make cells resistant to infection by blocking the viral life cycle. Gene transfer techniques applied to the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma include drug sensitization by suicide genes, genetic immunotherapy, normal tissue protection by transfer of the multidrug resistance gene, replacement of tumour suppressor genes, inhibition of oncogenes and modifications of the biology of the tumour (antiangiogenesis).
However, major advances in our understanding of the regulation of gene expression, design of the expression cassettes and development of more efficient gene transfer vectors are mandatory before gene therapy can become a widely used therapeutic modality.
CITATION J Viral Hepat. 1999 Jan;6(1):17-34