Gene therapy for skin cancer


Researchers at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, have developed a new gene therapy for a common skin cancer, which accounts for about a quarter of all cancers.


Patient trials will start this month, and mark the first time that a gene therapy, first trialled in dogs, has been tested in patients in Europe.


The therapy, designed as part of the SmartGene.si project, involves teaching the patient’s cells to boost their immune response by producing more of a substance called interleukin-12, which prevents tumour growth.


Earlier studies showed that the therapy was successful in pet dogs with a type of skin cancer, where trials at the Veterinary Faculty at the university showed a full recovery when the therapy was given alongside chemotherapy.

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