Cancer gene therapy by IL-12 gene delivery using liposomal bubbles and tumoral ultrasound exposure
Interleukin-12 (IL-12) gene therapy is expected to be effective against cancers because it primes the immune system for cancer cells. In this therapy, it is important to induce IL-12 gene expression in the tumor tissue. Sonoporation is an attractive technique for developing non-invasive and non-viral gene delivery systems, but simple sonoporation using only ultrasound is not an effective cancer gene therapy because of the low efficiency of gene delivery. We addressed this problem by combining ultrasound and novel ultrasound-sensitive liposomes (Bubble liposomes) which contain the ultrasound imaging gas perfluoropropane. Our previous work showed that this is an effective gene delivery system, and that Bubble liposome collapse (cavitation) is induced by ultrasound exposure. In this study, we assessed the utility of this system in cancer gene therapy using IL-12 corded plasmid DNA. The combination of Bubble liposomes and ultrasound dramatically suppressed tumor growth. This therapeutic effect was T-cell dependent, requiring mainly CD8(+) T lymphocytes in the effector phase, as confirmed by a mouse in vivo depletion assay. In addition, migration of CD8(+) T cells was observed in the mice, indicating that the combination of Bubble liposomes and ultrasound is a good non-viral vector system in IL-12 cancer gene therapy.
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