The prevalence of achieving an effective treatment for cancer is that of eradicating tumors without harming healthy organs and cells of the patient. The concept of utilizing biological agents for delivery of therapeutic genes to patients to kill cancer cells has been under investigation for two decades, which exploits the natural ability of disease causing microbes to invade human cells. Safety-modified versions of pathogenic viruses or bacteria can deposit genes and induce production of anti-cancer agents upon administration to tumors and promising clinical trial successes have been achieved with various types of gene delivery vehicles. Bacteria present an attractive class of gene vectors, possessing a natural ability to grow specifically within tumors following intravenous (IV) injection. Several species such as Clostridium and Salmonella have been examined in clinical trials. However, as foreign, disease-causing bugs, their inherent toxicity has outweighed therapeutic responses in patients, despite efforts to reduce toxicity through genetic modification. A promising alternative exploits non-pathogenic bacterial species that have an existing natural relationship with humans. Our recent study (Cronin et al., 2010) has demonstrated that IV injection or ingestion of a species of probiotic bacterium, Bifidobacterium breve, in high numbers, results in trafficking of the bacteria throughout the body and accumulation specifically within cancerous tissue.
Cite this article:
N. R. Reshma , U. Gayathri. Biological Agents for Delivery of Therapeutic Genes. Research J. Engineering and Tech. 4(4): Oct.-Dec., 2013 page 182-186.