Current therapies for localized prostate cancer include radical prostatectomy, local radiation therapy, and cryoablation and are associated with a high rate of cure and acceptable morbidity. However, for men who have failed primary curative attempts or have metastatic disease, no effective therapy associated with acceptable morbidity exists. "Suicide" gene therapy delivered alone or in combination with other forms of treatment could potentially provide simultaneous efficacy against localized and systemic disease via the generation of cytotoxic activity and/or systemic immunity to the cancer. In this article we discuss our preclinical and clinical experience with a herpes-simplex-virus thymidine kinase/ganciclovir gene-therapy protocol for prostate cancer.
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