Current systems for delivering therapeutic genes to tumours suffer from a number of serious deficiencies, most notably a lack of specificity for cancer cells. Here we propose an innovative solution to the problem based on the use of the spores of a harmless, non-pathogenic Clostridium species, Clostridium acetobutylicum. Intravenously injected clostridia spores localise to, and exclusively germinate in, the hypoxic regions of solid tumours. The spores are incapable of germinating in healthy tissue. We will engineer this harmless organism such that it produces a variety of prod rug-converting enzymes and assess their anti-tumour effects in a rat tumour model. New, more efficient enzymes and prod rugs will be developed. To increase safety, the clostridia host will be derivative such that it cannot speculate outside of the confines of the laboratory "flask".
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
SP4 6BU Salisbury
6229 HX Maastricht