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Dec 15, 2015 11:16 AM EST

Suicide' gene therapy can cancer cells

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In a recent study, researchers have discovered that suicide gene therapy can kill prostate cancer cells, Tech Times reports.

Suicide gene therapy involves the alteration of the genetic composition of cancer cells in such a way that the immune system will be triggered to kill it.

"The combination of immunomodulatory in situ gene therapy and IMRT [intensity-modulated radiotherapy] with or without hormonal therapy is feasible, safe, and effective in the treatment of prostate cancer," the authors wrote in the study.

Scientists employ primarily three methods in cancer gene therapy. The first strategy may involve inducing normal genes into the cancer cells as this can increase the sensitivity of the cancerous tumor to chemotherapeutic drugs and immune system attacks.

The second strategy involves the silencing of the genes, which stops the expression of those particular genes that activated in cancer cells. This prevents tumor growth and blood vessel formation.

The last strategy of cancer gene therapy may include inducing apoptosis or programmed cell death, or what is called suicide gene therapy.

Scientists have developed oncolytic viruses, which grow in tumor cells and destroy the entire virus-cell combination. The procedure does not generally cause cell death in normal cells.

At present, scientists are conducting various clinical studies investigating the gene cell therapies.

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