An assortment of virus vectors have been employed to deliver target genes to cells in order to provide either transient (e.g. adenovirus, vaccinia virus) or permanent (e.g. retrovirus, lentivirus) transgene expression and each approach has its own advantages and disadvantages. Adenoviruses were one of the first vector systems to be developed and they are widely used as gene therapy vectors both for clinical trials and experimental purposes. The reasons for this are that adenovirus vectors can efficiently transfer genes to both dividing and non-dividing cells and are biologically safe comparison to with other vectors. However, gene transduction to cancer cells is limited by using adenoviral type 5 vectors that is most frequently used in several types of cancer therapy. This is because these vectors have a low transduction efficiency due to a weak expression of the adenovirus receptor, coxsackie-adenovirus receptor (CAR), in cancer cells. Moreover, there may be side effects of the treatment because normal cells also express CAR. The development of targeting-vectors is crucial to eradicate cancer cells without any adverse effects. This article provides a brief review of the recent advances in cancer gene therapy using genetically modified adenoviruses.
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