Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

First Gene Therapy Study in Human Salivary Gland Shows Promise

Published: Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Treatment proves safe and effective, helps cancer survivors with chronic dry mouth.

Gene therapy can be performed safely in the human salivary gland, according to scientists at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), part of the National Institutes of Health.

This finding comes from the first-ever safety, or Phase I, clinical study of gene therapy in a human salivary gland. Its results, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also show that the transferred gene, Aquaporin-1, has great potential to help head and neck cancer survivors who battle with chronic dry mouth. Aquaporin-1 encodes a protein that naturally forms pore-like water channels in the membranes of cells to help move fluid, such as occurs when salivary gland cells secrete saliva into the mouth.

These initial results clear the way for additional gene therapy studies in the salivary glands. Although sometimes overlooked, salivary glands present an ideal target for gene therapy. They are easily accessible and, once a gene is introduced, it has no obvious escape route into the bloodstream, where it can have unintended consequences.

“You cannot imagine how fulfilling it is to jot down an idea on a napkin in 1991 and then see it enter a clinical trial and help people.,” said Bruce Baum, D.M.D., Ph.D., lead author on the study and recently retired NIDCR scientist who spent the last 21 years moving gene therapy in the salivary glands from the research bench to the clinic. “Can a scientist ask for anything better?”

Baum's interest in helping head and neck cancer survivors dates to the early 1980s. While attending to patients in the NIDCR's Dry Mouth Clinic, Baum encountered numerous people with head and neck cancer who had received radiation therapy to shrink their tumors. The radiation, while effective in treating cancer, had inadvertently damaged nearby salivary glands, compromising their ability to secrete saliva into the mouth.

Baum said he was thoroughly frustrated at the time because he had no effective moisture-restoring treatments to offer most patients. They had beaten cancer, but the radiation had left them with a permanent parched sensation in their mouths that diminished their quality of life and often led to chronic oral problems, such as difficulty swallowing, inflammation, infection, bad breath, and pain.

In the early 1990s, as the first gene-therapy studies entered research clinics, Baum saw an opportunity to make a difference. An initial napkin sketch of the procedure and 15 years of research later, Baum and his colleagues had assembled a compelling scientific case in animal studies that the transferred Aquaporin-1 gene, once expressed, will create new water channels in the impermeable salivary gland cells and allow water to flow through them. After rigorous reviews by NIH and the U. S. Food and Drug Administration, the Phase I protocol was launched and the first patients treated in 2008.

The scientists gave 11 head and neck cancer survivors a single-dose injection of the Aquaporin-1 gene directly into one of their two parotid salivary glands, the largest of the major salivary glands. The gene was packaged in a disabled, non-replicating adenovirus, the cause of the common cold when intact but incapable of causing a cold in this case. As is standard in gene therapy studies, the virus served as the vector, or Trojan horse, to deliver the gene into the cells lining the salivary gland.

The scientists found that five participants had increased levels of saliva secretion, as well as a renewed sense of moisture and lubrication in their mouths, within the study's first 42 days, the period covered in this report. Of the six who didn't benefit from gene therapy, none had serious side effects. The most common side effect was a transient and relatively minor immune response against the disabled adenovirus.

“It is time to evaluate a different vector to deliver the Aquaporin-1 gene, one that will cause only a minimal immune response,” said Baum. “But these data will serve as stepping stones for other scientists to improve on this first attempt in the years ahead. The future for applications of gene therapy in the salivary gland is bright.”

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research is the Nation's leading funder of research on oral, dental, and craniofacial health. For more information about NIDCR and its programs, visit http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Visual Impairment, Blindness Cases in U.S. Expected to Double by 2050
Researchers at NIH have suggested that there is a need for increased screening and interventions to identify and address treatable causes of vision loss.
Friday, May 20, 2016
Drug Might Help Treat Sepsis
A DNA enzyme called Top1 plays a key role in turning on genes that cause inflammation in mouse and human cells in response to pathogens. A drug blocking this enzyme rescued mice from lethal inflammatory responses, suggesting a potential treatment for sepsis.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
NIH Funds New Studies on Ethical, Legal and Social Impact of Genomic Information
Four new grants from the National Institutes of Health will support research on the ethical, legal and social questions raised by advances in genomics research and the increasing availability of genomic information.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Large-scale HIV Vaccine Trial to Launch in South Africa
NIH-funded study will test safety, efficacy of vaccine regimen.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
New HIV Vaccine Target Discovered
NIH-Led team have discovered a new vaccine target site on HIV.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Researchers Identify Genetic Links to Educational Attainment
Researchers at NIH have suggested that the large genetics analyses may be able to help discover biological pathways as well.
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Investigational Malaria Vaccine Protects Healthy U.S. Adults
Researchers at NIH have found that the malaria vaccine protected a small number of healthy, malaria-naïve adults in the U.S. from infection for more than one year after immunization.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Ketamine Metabolism Lifts Depression
NIH-funded team finds rapid-acting, non-addicting agent in mouse study.
Thursday, May 05, 2016
Finding Factors That Protect Against Flu
A clinical trial examining the body’s response to seasonal flu suggests new approaches for evaluating the effectiveness of seasonal flu vaccines.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Factors Influencing Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Uncovered
The long-held approach to predicting seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness may need to be revisited, new research suggests.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Study Finds Factors That May Influence Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness
Researchers at NIH have suggested that the long-held approach to predicting seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness may need to be revisited.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Serotonin Transporter Structure Revealed
Researchers determined the 3-D structure of the serotonin transporter and visualized how two common antidepressants interact with the protein.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Improving Flu Vaccine Effectiveness
NIH study finds factors that may influence influenza vaccine effectiveness.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Submissions Open for the Cancer Moonshot Program
NCI opens online platform to submit ideas about research for Cancer Moonshot.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Migration Creates Cancer Cell Vulnerabilities
Scientists found that migration can damage cancer cells’ nuclei and DNA, requiring repairs for their survival. The results may open new avenues for targeting metastatic cancer.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Scientific News
The Rise of 3D Cell Culture and in vitro Model Systems for Drug Discovery and Toxicology
An overview of the current technology and the challenges and benefits over 2D cell culture models plus some of the latest advances relating to human health research.
Scientists Find Evidence That Cancer Can Arise Changes
Researchers at Rockefeller University have found a mutation that affects the proteins that package DNA without changing the DNA itself can cause a rare form of cancer.
Immune Cells Remember Their First Meal
Scientists at the University of Bristol have identified the trigger for immune cells' inflammatory response – a discovery that may pave the way for new treatments for many human diseases.
A New Platform for Discovering Antibiotics
Harvard chemists hope to shorten time, difficulty in measuring their effectiveness, potential.
Biosensor Detects Molecules Linked to Cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
Novel biosensor has been proven capable of detecting molecules associated with neurodegenerative diseases and some types of cancer.
Gene That Lowers Heart Attack Risk Identified
Individuals with a rare twelve-letter deletion from a gene on chromosome 17 have significantly reduced non-HDL cholesterol levels and a 35% lower than average risk of heart disease.
Non-Toxic Approach to Treating Variety of Cancers
A team of researchers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine recently discovered a novel, non-toxic approach to treating a wide variety of cancers.
"Sunscreen" Gene May Guard Against Melanoma
USC-led study reveals that melanoma patients with deficient or mutant copies of the gene are less protected from harmful ultraviolet rays.
Real-Time Imaging of Embryo Development Could Pave the Way
Researchers at IMCB have developed advanced microscopy technologies to monitor embryo development for more effective human reproduction therapies.
Testing Non-Breast/Ovarian Cancer Genes
Researchers have found that expanding gene panel beyond breast/ovarian cancer genes in these patients does not add any clinical benefit. Instead, testing has produced more questions than answers.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!