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August 8 2019

New gene therapy started to treat ovarian cancer

Kuopio University Hospital has begun a unique gene therapy in February for patients with recurrent ovarian cancer, ovarian cancer or primary cancer of the peritoneum. Adenovirus-mediated gene therapy to prevent the growth of cancerous blood and lymphatic vessels have never been studied in humans before.

Instead of direct treatment to tumor cells, gene therapy is focused on the endothelial cells of blood and lymphatic vessels. This adenoviral gene therapy leads to production of soluble VEGF receptor 3, which prevent the development of the vascularization required by the tumor, says Hanna Sallinen, specialist in gynaecology and obstetrics.

Sallinen is the principal investigator of gene therapy and its research.

16 years of research in the background

In gene therapy, the drug is administered intravenously to patients as a single injection. - In this clinical drug study, this gene therapy is given to the patient as an add-on to chemotherapy, so the patient is not left with chemotherapy, says Hanna Sallinen.

Gene therapy adenoviruses have been removed from the areas required for its proliferation and pathogenesis and replaced with a gene for therapy. - The study also includes a placebo group to compare the safety of the study drug with those receiving placebo.

Specialist Hanna Sallinen has additional qualifications in gynecological oncology. She has been studying new gene therapy since 2003 at the AIV Institute, in Professor Seppo Ylä-Herttuala´s Research Group, and her doctoral thesis in 2010 covered the same subject.
- Obtaining a new gene therapy product for clinical trials has required years of preclinical studies and relevant authorities to investigate the safety and efficacy of the test product before moving on to a patient study, Sallinen says.