Paving the way for a new gene therapy

Posted under Research Projects on

Professor Caroline Springer & Dr Serena Thomasina Ghelfi

Finding specific drug therapies that can selectively target cancer cells has been the focus for a range of cancer research projects in recent years.  A big leap forward was achieved when scientists discovered ways of targeting the genes within cancer cells to effectively ‘turn off’ the cancer.

In a new two step therapy for head and neck cancer patients, thumb Professor Caroline Springer and her team have been using a specific gene-directed enzyme (Carboxypeptidase G2 CPG2) which is administered so that it is only produced at the site of the cancer.  Once there, the enzyme is able to convert certain drugs into cancer-killing chemicals.  The two step process ensures that the drug is active only in head and neck cancer cells, avoiding damage to healthy cells.

 “This is the first demonstration that the enzyme, CPG2, has a significant beneficial effect in head and neck cancer” Professor Caroline Springer

What have we discovered?

This research has shown that head and neck cancer cells are selectively targeted and destroyed by the two stage therapy.  The next stage is a clinical trial which will need additional funding.

Article published: Paving the way for a new gene therapy