What Is Gene Therapy And Is It A Treatment Option For Prostate Cancer?

Michael Carducci, M.D., Professor, Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center

Jan. 01, 2009 -- Question: What is gene therapy and is it a treatment option for prostate cancer?

Answer: So gene therapy for prostate cancer has not yet achieved the momentum or place in our clinics yet that we had hoped when the whole field began about 10, 15 years ago. The idea of taking DNA -- the basic building block of cells -- and putting it into cancer cells, either outside of the body or trying to replace them inside the body, with a couple ways to manipulate that DNA to either kill the cancer cell or stimulate the immune system, have been evaluated.

In my opinion, I think the strategies that boost the immune system have probably been the farthest along with a number of products that really add a molecule [with the] whole purpose to reactivate the immune system. I think that really is the next wave of gene therapy for prostate cancer.