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January 9, 1987

Gene Therapy May Have Future Role in Cancer Treatment

JAMA. 1987;257(2):150-151. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390020016003

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WHEN GENE THERAPY becomes clinical reality, one of its first uses may be in treating cancer patients with drug-resistant tumors.

John S. Lazo, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn, told the Bristol Myers Symposium on Cancer Research that he can foresee using gene therapy to restore sensitivity to chemotherapy in resistant cells; to produce toxic chemicals in resistant tumor cells; and to make normal host cells resistant to chemotherapy so that higher doses of cytotoxic compounds can be used.

The trick, of course, is to isolate the genes that can produce proteins to do these things; to get those genes into the proper cells; and to see that the genes are expressed appropriately in vivo.

Researchers at several institutions have been investigating gene therapy for genetic disease, and have found that it is indeed possible to transplant a gene into a stem cell