An efficient targeted radiotherapy/gene therapy strategy utilising human telomerase promoters and radioastatine and harnessing radiation-mediated bystander effects.
BACKGROUND: Targeted radiotherapy achieves malignant cell-specific concentration of radiation dosage by tumour-affinic molecules conjugated to radioactive atoms. Combining gene therapy with targeted radiotherapy is attractive because the associated cross-fire irradiation of the latter induces biological bystander effects upon neighbouring cells overcoming low gene transfer efficiency. METHODS: We sought to maximise the tumour specificity and efficacy of noradrenaline transporter (NAT) gene transfer combined with treatment using the radiopharmaceutical meta-[(131)I]iodobenzylguanidine ([(131)I]MIBG). Cell-kill was achieved by treatment with the beta-decay particle emitter [(131)I]MIBG or the alpha-particle emitter [(211)At]MABG. We utilised our novel transfected mosaic spheroid model (TMS) to determine whether this treatment strategy could result in sterilisation of spheroids containing only a small proportion of NAT-expressing cells. RESULTS: The concentrations of [(131)I]MIBG and [(211)At]MABG required to reduce to 0.1% the survival of clonogens derived from the TMS composed of 100% of NAT gene-transfected cells were 1.5 and 0.004 MBq/ml (RSV promoter), 8.5 and 0.0075 MBq/ml (hTR promoter), and 9.0 and 0.008 MBq/ml (hTERT promoter), respectively. The concentrations of radiopharmaceutical required to reduce to 0.1% the survival of clonogens derived from 5% RSV/NAT and 5% hTERT/NAT TMS were 14 and 23 MBq/ml, respectively, for treatment with [(131)I]MIBG and 0.018 and 0.028 MBq/ml, respectively, for treatment with [(211)At]MABG. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that the telomerase promoters have the capacity to drive the expression of the NAT. The potency of [(211)At]MABG is approximately three orders of magnitude greater than that of [(131)I]MIBG. Spheroids composed of only 5% of cells expressing NAT under the control of the RSV or hTERT promoter were sterilised by radiopharmaceutical treatment. This observation is indicative of bystander cell-kill.
Boyd, M; Mairs, RJ; Keith, WN; Ross, SC; Welsh, P; Akabani, G; Owens, J; Vaidyanathan, G; Carruthers, R; Dorrens, J; Zalutsky, MR
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