This study represents the first report of gene therapy for anaplastic thyroid carcinoma, one of the most aggressive solid tumors in humans. Two patients with end-stage anaplastic thyroid carcinoma were treated by direct intratumor injection of retroviral vector producer cells followed by ganciclovir. The retroviral vector carried the human IL-2 gene and the suicide gene thymidine kinase of herpes simplex virus type 1. Treatment was safe and associated with only mild adverse events. Transduction of tumor cells and production of T helper type 1 cytokines was demonstrated in tumor biopsies. Gene therapy led also to a marked increase in T helper type 1 cytokine expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Radiological evaluation of injected tumor masses demonstrated local tumor necrosis.
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