Field distribution and DNA transport in solid tumors during electric field-mediated gene delivery.
Gene therapy has a great potential in cancer treatment. However, the efficacy of cancer gene therapy is currently limited by the lack of a safe and efficient means to deliver therapeutic genes into the nucleus of tumor cells. One method under investigation for improving local gene delivery is based on the use of pulsed electric field. Despite repeated demonstration of its effectiveness in vivo, the underlying mechanisms behind electric field-mediated gene delivery remain largely unknown. Without a thorough understanding of these mechanisms, it will be difficult to further advance the gene delivery. In this review, the electric field-mediated gene delivery in solid tumors will be examined by following individual transport processes that must occur in vivo for a successful gene transfer. The topics of examination include: (i) major barriers for gene delivery in the body, (ii) distribution of electric fields at both cell and tissue levels during the application of external fields, and (iii) electric field-induced transport of genes across each of the barriers. Through this approach, the review summarizes what is known about the mechanisms behind electric field-mediated gene delivery and what require further investigations in future studies.
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