GMOs to be used in chemotherapy

By
Sunday, 23 September, 2001


Thirty men with prostate cancer are to be turned into genetically modified organisms (GMOs) during trials at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, England, in an attempt to cure the disease by making cancerous cells a target for chemotherapy.

The therapy involves a genetically modified common-cold virus carrying the gene for nitroreductase injected directly into the prostate gland. Scientists believe that the virus will produce a protein in the cancerous cells that will make them a target for chemotherapy so that no healthy cells are damaged while the cancer is killed. The prostate is removed two days later to calculate the optimum dosage levels.

In another phase of the experiment, men with recurring prostate cancer will be injected with a modified virus before being given a 'pro-drug' which is only active in the presence of the protein trigger, nitroreductase.

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