Ex vivo culture of patient tissue and examination of gene delivery

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Rajendran, Simon
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University College Cork
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Gene therapy has emerged as a realistic prospect for the treatment of cancer due to its potential for selective tumour cell targeting. The greatest challenge gene delivery vectors face is the ability to safely and efficiently deliver genes into target cells. The overall objectives of this thesis are to evaluate the efficacy of various gene delivery methods in a clinically relevant tumour model and to also investigate potential strategies for tumour selective delivery. We began with the development of a tumour slice model system using patient waste tissue. This model involves the use of fresh human tumour tissue, cut into thin slices and maintained ex vivo and is universally applicable to gene delivery methods, using a real-time luminescence detection method to assess gene delivery. The nature of the ex vivo culture system permitted examination of specific physiological variables, the influence of intratumoural factors and tissue specific effects on vector expression. Adenoviral vectors under the control of the human CXCR4 promoter demonstrated a 'tumour on' and 'normal off' expression profile when compared with the ubiquitously active CMV promoter when tested in patient tumour tissue. In addition, we developed an ex vivo system of changing oxygenation using the hypoxia inducer, cobalt, to mimic the transient hypoxic conditions found in solid tumours. We found that Adenoviral transgene expression was robust in the cycling hypoxic conditions relevant to solid tumours and re-oxygenation of chronically hypoxic tissue enhanced transgene expression. Finally, we demonstrated an AAV-based tumour targeting strategy using a tumour-selective promoter allowing for the efficient targeting of AAV vectors to cancer cells and the sparing of normal tissue in both murine metastatic liver tumours models and patient tissue. The thesis highlights the importance of indepth preclinical assessment of novel therapeutics and may serve as a platform for further testing of novel gene delivery approaches.
Gene delivery , Cancer , Adenovirus
Rajendran, S. 2014. Ex vivo culture of patient tissue and examination of gene delivery. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.