Gene Therapy

The gene bank stores genetic drugs, genetic vaccines and carrier molecule of genetic drugs and vaccines as described below in proper condition and it will prepare and provide final gene drug/vaccine materials for therapy when requested from clinic.

  1. Genetic drug
    • Genetic drug is a drug made of gene (i.e. DNA or RNA). The gene to be administered is packaged inside a kind of vector which carries genes into cells, induces production of therapeutic molecule (usually protein), which effect and treat disease which develop due to defect of this gene.
    • A variety of therapeutic genes will be provided by clinic
      • in cases with cancer, it can be cancer killing genes or cancer growth-suppressing genes (e.g. TRAIL, p53, p16, antisense RAS, etc), cancer vessel-blocking genes (antisense VEGF), or immunity-stimulating genes (e.g. interleukin-2 or IL2, IL12, IL18, IL24, interferon-alpha or gamma, etc).
    • Genetic drugs are administered in complex with carrier molecules
  2. Genetic Vaccine
    • Genetic vaccine is a vaccine in the form of DNA. A variety of genetic vaccines will be provided to patients. It will target key molecules of target cancer as detected by genomic test of cancer cells. The general idea is to introduce a patient’s immune system to his or her cancer in a targeted way so as to provoke an immune response. 
    • All the important key markers or antigens of cancer of a variety of types will be target of genetic vaccines
      • CEA, AFP, CA19-9, CA125, CA15-3, beta-HCG, mucin, mammaglobin, thyroglobulin, MAGE, EGF receptor, Her-2, VEGF, FLK, etc.
    • Viral genes can be also target, such as antigen of hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, human immunodeficiency virus, human papillomavirus, COVID-19, etc.
    • These genetic vaccines are therapeutic vaccines (effective to treat existing diseases), in contrast to other forms of vaccines which are used just to protect or prevent future diseases, but can’t treat existing diseases.
    • injecting the patient with a dose of antigens collected from his or her tumor tissue.
    • collecting dendritic cells from the patient’s immune system, exposing those cells to their tumor tissue in a laboratory, and then injecting them back into the patient. 
    • The vaccine is a polygenic vaccine, which can induce immunity to multiple (not single as in other vaccine) antigenic markers simultaneously.
    • These vaccines are highly useful to treat cancers which are highly variant and develop resistance with therapy. Clinical trials are needed in the USA for use of vaccines in a wide range of cancers, including melanoma, breast cancer, brain cancer, head and neck cancer, and lymphoma, but in Mexico or South Korea, they may be injected directly to patient after a through evaluation process.
    • Genetic vaccines are administered in complex with cytokines (IL2, IL12, GM-CSF, etc) and adjuvant carrier molecules.

3. Immune modulator therapy

    • These boost the patient’s entire immune system; not only those immune cells active within the tumour microenvironment
    • Cytokines are the most commonly used immune modulator and are small proteins that carry messages between cells and are known to play a critical role in the body’s response to inflammation and immune attack. Cytokines act on every phase of the cancer immunity cycle. Thus, cytokines can improve antigen priming, increase the number of effector immune cells in the TME and enhance their cytolytic activity
    • IL-2 for metastatic melanoma and renal cell carcinoma (FDA approved)
    • IFN-α for the adjuvant therapy of Stage III melanoma (FDA approved)
    • Other immune modulators include Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and biologic response modifiers. Biologic response modifiers include Thalidomide (Thalomid®), Lenalidomide (Revlimid®), Pomalidomide (Pomalyst®) and Imiquimod (Aldara®, Zyclara®).

4. Monoclonal antibodies
-Tumour targeted monoclonal antibodies (mAbs)

: these block the growth signal of tumour cells or induce apoptosis. They are designed to target specific antigens found on cancer cells

– Bi-specific T-cell engagers (BiTE therapy)

: They work by building links between cancer cells and a form of white blood cells called T-cells, effectively trapping the cancer cells so they can be destroyed more easily.

– Checkpoint inhibitors

:  (CTLA4, PD1 and PDL1) these release the breaks on the body’s immune system and induce T-cells to actively combat tumour growth. This is directed against the cancer cells, which silence the body’s T-cell functioning by taking advantage of the immune system’s natural checkpoints designed to maintain equilibrium and prevent autoimmunity

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