Research ArticleCancer

Extended Survival of Glioblastoma Patients After Chemoprotective HSC Gene Therapy

Science Translational Medicine  09 May 2012:
Vol. 4, Issue 133, pp. 133ra57
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3003425

You are currently viewing the editor's summary.

View Full Text
As a service to the community, AAAS/Science has made this article free with registration.

Arming Blood Stem Cells to Fight Cancer

The toxic effects of chemotherapy (chemotoxicity) on blood and bone marrow cells of cancer patients can be a significant barrier to treating tumors. Delivery of a gene that can protect bone marrow stem and progenitor cells from chemotoxicity could overcome this barrier. In a new study by Adair et al., patients with chemotherapy-resistant brain tumors with very poor chances of survival were given a transplant with their own bone marrow hematopoietic stem cells after the cells had been modified with a gene that protects these cells from chemotherapy. After the bone marrow transplant, patients were then given dose-intensified chemotherapy. Adair et al. report that the patients were able to tolerate these chemotherapy doses better after transplant of the gene-modified bone marrow stem cells than did patients in previous studies who had received the same type of chemotherapy but without the gene-modified bone marrow stem cell transplant. The authors found that chemotherapy increased the number of gene-modified blood and bone marrow cells in these patients. These patients survived longer than predicted without any negative side effects from the transplanted cells or the treatment given. This strategy could be used for treating other types of cancer, or diseases treated with the same type of chemotherapy, to increase the efficacy of the drug regimen. This strategy could also be further developed as a clinical application in other diseases where defective bone marrow stem cells can be corrected by gene therapy but need to be increased to higher levels to produce a therapeutic benefit.