Harnessing Viruses to Treat Cancer, Developing Novel Gene-based Approaches
Cancer therapies, and therapies in general, are based on small molecules, radiation or surgery. To date, genes have not been used therapeutically. Gene and virus therapies have the potential to permanently change the genetic makeup of a given cell or tissue. In cancer, gene therapy can be used to permanently change a cancer cell's genetic composition to make it self-destruct. Alternatively, a cell or tissue can be taken out of the body, genetically altered, and re-introduced to the patient as a therapeutic agent by delivering the modified cells directly to the target site of interest in a patient. Removing cells, modifying them and putting them back in a person is much more complex than having a therapeutic agent in a bottle that you take off the shelf and administer to a patient.