Vectors for cancer gene therapy

J. Zhang, S. J. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Many viral and non-viral vector systems have now been developed for gene therapy applications. In this article, the pros and cons of these vector systems are discussed in relation to the different cancer gene therapy strategies. The protocols used in cancer gene therapy can be broadly divided into six categories including gene transfer to explanted cells for use as cell-based cancer vaccines; gene transfer to a small number of tumour cells in situ to achieve a vaccine effect; gene transfer to vascular endothelial cells (VECs) lining the blood vessels of the tumour to interfere with tumour angiogenesis; gene transfer to T lymphocytes to enhance their antitumour effector capability; gene transfer to haemopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to enhance their resistance to cytotoxic drugs and gene transfer to a large number of tumour cells in situ to achieve nonimmune tumour reduction with or without bystander effect. Each of the six strategies makes unique demands on the vector system and these are discussed with reference to currently available vectors. Aspects of vector biology that are in need of further development are discussed in some detail. The final section points to the potential use of replicating viruses as delivery vehicles for efficient in vivo gene transfer to disseminated cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-401
Number of pages17
JournalCancer and Metastasis Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


  • cancer
  • gene therapy
  • non-viral vectors
  • replicating vectors
  • viral vectors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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