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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2003, Issue 2, Pages 110-137
Review article

Transcriptional Targeting in Cancer Gene Therapy

School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Co. Antrim, Newtownabbey BT37 0QB, Ireland

Received 10 June 2002; Accepted 19 July 2002

Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cancer gene therapy has been one of the most exciting areas of therapeutic research in the past decade. In this review, we discuss strategies to restrict transcription of transgenes to tumour cells. A range of promoters which are tissue-specific, tumour-specific, or inducible by exogenous agents are presented. Transcriptional targeting should prevent normal tissue toxicities associated with other cancer treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy. In addition, the specificity of these strategies should provide improved targeting of metastatic tumours following systemic gene delivery. Rapid progress in the ability to specifically control transgenes will allow systemic gene delivery for cancer therapy to become a real possibility in the near future.