FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Painter, Communications Director, Marshall
University Research Corporation, 304-746-1964
Study explores gene therapy 'cocktail' for feline
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A team of researchers led by a
Marshall University faculty member has found that a gene
therapy "cocktail" may hold the key to treating feline
fibrosarcoma-an aggressive type of cancer that affects
thousands of cats in the U.S. each year. Current therapies
for the disease are often ineffective for long-term tumor
The research was conducted by Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio,
associate professor in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate
Program and the Departments of Biochemistry and
Microbiology and Surgery at the university's Joan C.
Edwards School of Medicine, and colleagues from the McKown
Translational Research Institute at the school of medicine,
the university's Department of Biology, the Martin
Veterinary Clinic in Ashland, Ky., and the University of
L'Aquila in Italy.
According to Claudio, there are two types of feline
fibrosarcomas. The most common type has been linked to the
use of vaccines administered to prevent rabies and feline
leukemia, and occurs at the site of the injection. The
second type appears to occur spontaneously, without any
known external cause.
The study at Marshall focused on the more rare,
non-vaccination site fibrosarcomas, which have been found
to be associated with genetic alterations. It seemed a
natural fit for Claudio, whose research focuses on
understanding the molecular mechanisms governing the growth
of cancers to help develop new strategies for
"Gene therapy, which we study in my lab, uses genetic
and cell-based technologies to treat disease," he said.
"Essentially, we were able to develop a cocktail of
adenoviruses carrying functional therapeutic proteins that
can be used to eliminate this deadly disease."
Claudio pointed out that more studies need to be done
to determine if his lab's findings could also be applicable
to cases of vaccine-induced fibrosarcomas.
The research was published yesterday in the journal
PLoS ONE. The full article, "Targeting a newly established
spontaneous feline fibrosarcoma cell line by gene
transfer," is available online at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0037743.
Claudio is in Italy this week to present three
invited lectures about his research. He will be speaking at
the National Cancer Institute and the CEINGE
Institute in Naples, and at the meeting "Fragment of
history: Seminar on the oral medicine of the past and
of the future" in Sorrento.