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Principles and Applications of Gene Therapy in Colon Cancer

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Rajaraman Durai1,2, Shi Yu Yang1, Alexander M Seifalian1,2, Marc C Winslet1,2

1) Academic Division of Surgical and Interventional Sciences, University College London
2) Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


Abstract

Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity. Mutations and aberration of some of the genes may lead to colon cancer. With advancing knowledge, more and more defective genes can be identified. Theoretically, correction of these defective genes, selective overexpression of certain genes may lead to not only prevention of cancer development but also regression of existing cancer. Carcinogenesis is a multistep process and more than one gene may be altered. At present, the success of gene therapy as a stand alone therapy is limited by poor expression and long-term non-expression of transferred genes, immunological effect on the viral vectors, viraemia, leukaemia and occasional deaths. Further experiments and trials are underway to modify the vectors and genes to make sure gene therapy is safe, effective and long-lasting before it can be used in day-to-day practice.

Key words
Gene - gene therapy - oncogene - colon cancer - vectors - plasmid