Kanada et al developed a therapeutic approach to deliver enzyme-producing genes that can convert certain drugs to target and kill tumour cells. The researchers used extracellular vesicles (EVs) as delivery vehicles to transfer the genetic material that carries cancer treatments. The delivery vehicle comprised microvesicles loaded with engineered minicircle (MC) DNA that encoded prodrug converting enzymes. These EVs delivered the enzyme-producing genes that could activate a prodrug combination therapy of ganciclovir and CB1954 in breast cancer cells. The genes encoded thymidine kinase (TK)/nitroreductase (NTR) fusion protein, which produced prolonged TK-NTR expression in mammary carcinoma cells. In vivo delivery of TK-NTR and administration of prodrugs led to the effective killing of both targeted cells and surrounding tumour cells via TK-NTR-mediated conversion of co-delivered prodrugs into active cytotoxic agents. The findings suggest MC delivery via microvesicles as a promising approach to cancer therapy.
Source: Molecular Cancer Therapeutics August 28, 2019 DOI: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-19-0299 https://mct.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2019/08/28/1535-7163.MCT-19-0299