Engineering an Adenovirus Selectively Targeting Pancreatic Cancer Cells
Research Problem and Goals
Engineer a non-replicating adenovirus vector that uses phage display to selectively infect cancerous pancreatic cells. The virus will encode an immunotoxin or a protein that will inhibit proliferation and cause apoptosis in cancer cells. The virus will also encode a reporter gene such as EGFP to enable visualization of cells that the virus is infecting, and determine if the virus is successfully targeting pancreatic cancer cells.
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- The human adenovirus E1B gene encodes a protein that deactivates p53, the tumor suppressor protein. The study shows that an adenovirus mutant lacking a functional E1B was able to selectively replicate in and destroy tumor cells that had a defective p53 without affecting normal cells with a normally functioning p53.
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- Immunotoxin therapy enables selective targeting of cytotoxins to tumor cells with minimal effect of normal cells. The tumor cells were targeted by their expression of a receptor (Her-1/neu)not expressed on normal cells. A conditionally replicative adenovirus vector along with a virus encoding an immunotoxin were used to express an immunotoxin gene in cancerous cells. The study demonstrated significant tumor growth suppression.
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- Adeno-associated virus (AAV) has been discovered to be a useful platform for vector design because of its low frequency of random integration into the genome and the moderate illicited immune response. These AAV vectors selectively target cells of interest by identifying peptides mediating binding to the desired cell type through random phage display library screening and subsequently introducing these peptides into an AAV capsid region critical for receptor binding.
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- A novel E1A-mutant adenovirus (M6) with antisense HPV16 E6 E7 DNA inserted into the deleted 6.7 K/gp19 K region of E3 was discovered. It was found that M6 was competent to selectively replicate in cervical cancer cells. In addition, infection of M6 was able to inhibit the expression of HPV16 E6 and E7 oncogenes and induce apoptosis of HPV16-positive cervical cancer cells. Experiments showed that treatment with M6 in combination with radiotherapy was superior to treatment by Adv5/dE1A plus radiation or M6 alone.