A Publication of the James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Human Gene Therapy


A new approach to immunological therapy of advanced cancer has been developed in a collaborative effort between The Brady Urological Institute and the Oncology Center. The initial clinical trials are being undertaken in men with advanced kidney cancer. The principle is simple although the technology is advanced. The cancer containing kidney is removed at surgery and the cells are grown in tissue culture. The cells are then infected with a genetically engineered virus that contains a gene which stimulates the immune system. These cancer cells, which are armed with genes that will enhance the immune response, are then radiated so they cannot grow and are reinjected as a vaccine under the skin of the patient at regular intervals. This technique has been worked out and documented in experimental animals and clinical trials in human kidney cancer began in January 1994. The investigators responsible for this major advance are Drs. Jonathan Simons, Fray Marshall, Drew Pardoll, Elizabeth Jaffey and Dr. Richard Mulligan.

Experimentally, the application of this technique to prostate cancer is also well on its way. Dr. Martin Sanda and Dr. Jonathan Simons have been able to show that prostate cancer cells can be grown in culture, infected with the virus, and that these immunologically activated cells can produce an immune response in animals. These studies have paved the way for similar trials in human prostate cancer in similar trials in human prostate cancer in the future.

  1. Sanda, G.A., Ayyagari, S.J., Jaffee, F,.M., Epstein, J.I., Clift, S.L., Cohen, L.K., Dranoff, G., Pardoll, D.M., Mulligan, R.C., & Simons, J.W.: Demostration of a rational strategy for human prostate cancer gene therapy. J. Urol- 151:622-628, 1994.


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