AdenoVirus (Cold Virus) Gene Therapy

Gene Therapy (GMCI) Using a Common Cold Virus 
Gene Mediated Cytotoxic Immunotherapy (GMCI) is based on an innovative technique known as gene transfer technology and is used in conjunction with current therapies for a targeted approach.  GMCI offers the goal of engaging the immune system to prevent and attach metastases.  GMCI generates a systemic effect against residual tumor cells and even tiny tumor deposits called micrometastases.

Administration consists of an intra-tumoral injection of an attenuated cold virus that cannot replicate called AdV-tk followed by an anti-herpetic prodrug (e.g., valacyclovir).  AdV-tk plus the prodrug cause death of tumor cells.  This works best if it occurs while the patient is receiving radiation therapy.

As a result of complex interactions including the mode and context of cell death, viral delivery, and superantigen-like properties of the transgene itself, a potent immune-stimulatory effect is generated. Many things happen.  As the tumor dies, a number of proteins and other chemicals are released from the cells that stimulate the immune system.  The virus itself is designed to turn on the immune system.  The kind of inflammation that occurs stimulates special cells called antigen presenting cells that cause a cascade of events that stimulate immune cells to kill the tumor.  A final effect is the stimulation of compounds called interleukins by a protein in the virus, which in turn also stimulates immune cells in the body to kill the cancer.  

GMCI does not replace the current standard of care, but instead works alongside current therapies for a targeted approach.  In addition GMCI offers the goal of engaging the immune system to prevent and attack brain cancer cells for many years after treatment.

Kenneth R. Peak Brain and Pituitary Tumor Treatment & Research Center 
Houston Methodist Hospital - Texas Medical Center
6445 Main Street, Outpatient Center, Floor 24
Houston, TX 77030