Cellular suicide therapy of malignant disease

Charles J. Link, Tatinia Seregina, Ann Traynor, Richard K. Burt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Adoptive cellular therapy is developing as a supplement or alternative to chemotherapy and/or radiation for malignant disease. Our focus is two ongoing clinical studies with transgeneic (genetically altered) cellular therapy; one uses allogeneic (from another person) lymphocytes to treat leukemia, and the second uses xenogeneic (from another species) fibroblast cells genetically altered to contain a toxin-producing suicide gene to treat ovarian cancer. Allogeneic donor lymphocyte infusions (DLI) are known to induce remission of hematologic malignancies. However, the toxicity associated with DLI is related to graft-versus-host-disease, which is due to donor lymphocytes attacking normal tissue in the recipient. Therefore, we have taken the approach of infusing DLI that have been modified to contain a latent suicide gene to treat leukemia. To treat ovarian cancer, we used xenogeneic nonimmune fibroblast-derived cells to deliver a tumor-directed cytotoxic gene to carcinoma cells. These cells release HStk transgene retroviruses that in turn transduce replicating tumor cells but not quiescent epithelium, rendering the tumor selectively susceptible to ganciclovir- mediated killing. These initial trials summarize the early stage of allogeneic/xenogeneic adoptive cellular therapy for cancer, and although the data are limited, it is encouraging to see some patients with evidence of antitumor responses. Advances in our understanding of the basic science of these treatments, together with improvements in the technology of vector design, will be required to streamline these methodologies into broader application.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-74
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


  • Adoptive cellular therapy
  • Allogeneic
  • Donor lymphocyte infusion
  • Suicide gene
  • Vector-producing cells
  • Xenogeneic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Cellular suicide therapy of malignant disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this