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What advances have you seen over the years in gene therapy for mesothelioma?

We have been conducting gene therapy clinical trials for malignant mesothelioma since 1995, initially using the so-called "suicide gene" HSV-TK and demonstrated safe and successful intrapleural gene transfer and evidence of clinical responses and some long-term (greater than 10 year) survivals with single dose treatment.  Over the past 8 years, we have transitioned to intrapleural delivery of cytokine genes to stimulate local and systemic anti-tumor responses. Currently we are conducting several clinical trials of adenoviral-mediated interferon alpha gene therapy, both with intrapleural and intratumoral delivery.  Our current Phase I trials involve two doses of gene vector alone; our Phase I/II trials involve combinations of interferon-alpha gene delivery with standard front-line chemotherapy (Pemetrexed/Cisplatin) or an accepted second-line regimen (Gemcitabine/Carboplatin).  In 2012, we hope to initiate a trial involving neoadjuvant vector delivery followed by radical pleurectomy and intraoperative photodynamic therapy. 

--Dan Sterman, MD, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center

What do you hope to achieve as the new SAB Chair?

Why is clinical trial participation important in mesothelioma?

How does a pathologist diagnose mesothelioma?

Why is a second opinion important in mesothelioma?

My doctor told me that chemotherapy doesn’t work in mesothelioma. Is this true?

What advances have you seen over the years in gene therapy for mesothelioma?

What is new in your approach to treating peritoneal mesothelioma?

Is radiation therapy effective for pain control for patients with mesothelioma?

Can you tell me about the potential benefit of IMRT in mesothelioma?