Herpes Gene May Help Attack Prostate Cancer

University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center
Last Modified: May 18, 1998

A certain herpes gene may help fight prostate cancer, according to the first study to demonstrate that gene therapy is safe and active against prostate cancer. This phase I trial examined 18 patients who had local recurrence of prostate cancer following initial treatment with radiation.

The herpes gene (thymidine kinase) activates a normally inactive antiviral drug called ganciclovir. Because human cells do not normally contain this gene, they are resistant to ganciclovir's effects. When this gene was successfully transferred into prostate cancer cells, however, the ganciclovir was activated, thereby killing the cancerous cells.

This phase I study was designed only to test safety and study different dosing levels. Nonetheless, three of the 18 patients in the study showed a significant decrease in PSA levels -- an indication that the prostate cancer may be diminishing in size. One patient showed no sign of cancer after biopsy.

[ Original Abstract ]

Blogs

In Celebration of Eric Ott
by Bob Riter
August 17, 2015

Related News

Study finds PCA3 test helpful in predicting whether a biopsy will indicate prostate cancer

Mar 5, 2010

Study finds PCA3 test helpful in predicting whether a biopsy will indicate prostate cancer


ASCO: Genes, Pathways Involved in Exercise/Prostate CA-Link ID'd

Feb 6, 2012

BRCA1/2, DNA repair pathways enhanced in those who exercise for three or more hours per week


Smoking Bans May Reduce Heart Attacks in Nonsmokers

Aug 28, 2015

Report details dangers of secondhand smoke exposure and cardiovascular risks