oral cancer is the most prevalent malignancy among Indian men. Now, scientists at the Cancer Research Institute ( cri ) in Mumbai have taken the first step towards curing the cancer with the help of gene therapy. They will use a genetically-engineered version of a virus called murine leukaemia virus that causes blood cancer in mice. The research team led by Rita Mulherkar, a molecular biologist at cri , have based their efforts on a technique first developed in the us about five years ago.
The researchers at cri will first cripple the murine leukemia virus so that it will be unable to replicate. They will then combine a gene producing the thymidine kinase enzyme with the dna of the crippled virus. This genetically-engineered virus will be injected into oral tumours of the patients after which they will be given a drug called gancyclovir which destroys the tumour cells infected with the virus. Tests on animals are underway and trials on humans are likely to begin only in 1998 after a series of "pre-clinical experiments", said Mulherkar.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.