Cancer results from a succession of genetic mutations that result in activation of oncogenes or inactivation of tumour suppressor genes. These changes can occur both early in the process of malignant transformation, and later, as the tumour becomes invasive. The success in the development of the technology for the transfer of genetic material into mammalian cells has raised the possibility of treating cancer at a molecular level. Despite initial enthusiasm, gene therapy has still not become a standard treatment modality for cancer. In this chapter we will review the approaches that have been attempted and consider why gene therapy is still an experimental approach.
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