GAITHERSBURG, Md--The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has licensed its broad patent covering gene therapy techniques to Genetic Therapy, Inc. The inventors cited on the patent are gene therapy pioneers W. French Anderson, Steven Rosenberg, and Michael Blaese.
In other news, Genetic Therapy has announced the start of a multicenter phase I/II clinical trial using gene therapy to treat inoperable malignant brain tumors. This trial is being conducted in parallel with an ongoing trial for operable malignant brain tumors.
The initial study will enroll 15 patients who will receive injections into the tumor that produce genetically altered vectors. These vectors transfer into the tumor cells the gene for the enzyme thymidine kinase. Cells that express this gene produce thymidine kinase, making them susceptible to ganciclovir(Drug information on ganciclovir) (Cytovene). Ganciclovir is then given to destroy tumor cells that have expressed the enzyme.