Current status of gene therapy for breast cancer: progress and challenges

Cian M McCrudden, Helen O McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
516 Downloads (Pure)


Breast cancer is characterized by a series of genetic mutations and is therefore ideally placed for gene therapy intervention. The aim of gene therapy is to deliver a nucleic acid-based drug to either correct or destroy the cells harboring the genetic aberration. More recently, cancer gene therapy has evolved to also encompass delivery of RNA interference technologies, as well as cancer DNA vaccines. However, the bottleneck in creating such nucleic acid pharmaceuticals lies in the delivery. Deliverability of DNA is limited as it is prone to circulating nucleases; therefore, numerous strategies have been employed to aid with biological transport. This review will discuss some of the viral and nonviral approaches to breast cancer gene therapy, and present the findings of clinical trials of these therapies in breast cancer patients. Also detailed are some of the most recent developments in nonviral approaches to targeting in breast cancer gene therapy, including transcriptional control, and the development of recombinant, multifunctional bio-inspired systems. Lastly, DNA vaccines for breast cancer are documented, with comment on requirements for successful pharmaceutical product development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-20
Number of pages12
JournalThe application of clinical genetics
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2014


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