a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA)

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Week: 597.5

Guest: Dr. Scott Freeman, Assoc. Prof. pathology, Tulane Univ. Medical Ctr.

Topic: Using cancer against cancer

Host/Producer: Steve Girard 

NEMA: Using cancer against cancer.. coming up.... 

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NEMA: Experts know that 50% of cancer patients have a relapse after chemotherapy. Dr. Scott Freeman of Tulane University Medical Center talks about his research into a new way to kill the cancer cells... 

FREEMAN: What we wanted to do was to provide a new drug sensitivity that was different then the standard chemotherapy, and there have been previous studies that have shown that if you take tumor cells and put a gene in it from the herpes virus, what happens is it sensitizes those cells to an antiviral drug, the drug Ganciclovir.  

NEMA: The problem was that using current gene therapy technology, it's virtually impossible to genetically modify every cell in the tumor...the discovery that Dr. Freeman made is to use irradiated cancer cells to carry the herpes gene to the tumor ...  

FREEMAN: If you take these tumor cells that express the herpes thymitis kinase gene and expose them to the Ganciclovir not only do they die but they also kill near by tumor cells.  

NEMA: This so called "bystander effect" is what gives these researchers hope this type of therapy can be tumor cell selective, killing the tumor cells while leaving healthy cells alone. I'm Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.