Gene therapy imaging in patients for oncological applications
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- Peñuelas, I., Haberkorn, U., Yaghoubi, S. et al. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging (2005) 32: S384. doi:10.1007/s00259-005-1928-3
Thus far, traditional methods for evaluating gene transfer and expression have been shown to be of limited value in the clinical arena. Consequently there is a real need to develop new methods that could be repeatedly and safely performed in patients for such purposes. Molecular imaging techniques for gene expression monitoring have been developed and successfully used in animal models, but their sensitivity and reproducibility need to be tested and validated in human studies. In this review, we present the current status of gene therapy-based anticancer strategies and show how molecular imaging, and more specifically radionuclide-based approaches, can be used in gene therapy procedures for oncological applications in humans. The basis of gene expression imaging is described and specific uses of these non-invasive procedures for gene therapy monitoring illustrated. Molecular imaging of transgene expression in humans and evaluation of response to gene-based therapeutic procedures are considered. The advantages of molecular imaging for whole-body monitoring of transgene expression as a way to permit measurement of important parameters in both target and non-target organs are also analyzed. The relevance of this technology for evaluation of the necessary vector dose and how it can be used to improve vector design are also examined. Finally, the advantages of designing a gene therapy-based clinical trial with imaging fully integrated from the very beginning are discussed and future perspectives for the development of these applications outlined.