Development of New Gene-Therapy Vectors
Gene therapy has recently proven to be a potential therapeutic alternative for many types of cancer. One of the most promising strategies of this type of therapy is based on the use of viral vectors that can express immunostimulant molecules in the tumor environment.
In recent years, our group's research has focused on the development of new vectors based on alphaviruses and adenoviruses that can express interleukin 12 (IL-12) and other immunostimulant cytokines, such as interferon alpha (IFN-ɑ). These vectors have demonstrated a strong antitumor capacity in animal models of bowel cancer and liver cancer, including clinically relevant spontaneous tumors. More recently, our group has begun to evaluate the use of monoclonal antibodies (mAb) with immunomodulatory properties for the treatment of cancer. In this way, we've shown that the antitumor effect of vectors that express IL-12 may be strongly potentiated by combining it with a CD137-agonist mAb, a molecule expressed to a high degree on the surface of activated T cells.
We are currently evaluating other combinatory strategies based on the use of mAbs, which may increase the antitumor potential of our viral vectors.