A study of laboratory mice showed that the therapy seemed to protect up to 50% of animals from the development of tumors.
The therapy consisted of the FHIT gene, a gene that is thought to contribute to cancer of the stomach and of the esophagus.
|Gene therapy protected 50% of animals from the development of tumors.|
|Proc Natl Acad Sci|
Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, USA, used mice that had been bred not to have the FHIT gene - and then exposed them to the carcinogen NMBA.
Twelve mice were untreated and all of these developed tumors. Two different viral vectors for delivery of the gene were tested on groups of eight mice. In one group four mice stayed free of tumors while, in a second group, five of the eight animals stayed free of cancer.
Researcher Professor Kay Huebner said, "We were pretty surprised that it worked so well.
"We knew we could kill cancer cells in the laboratory, but we didn't know if the viruses would get eaten up by the stomach juices. We expected differences, but not so dramatic."
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