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Viral gene therapy for head and neck cancer

  • J P Hughes (a1) (a2), G Alusi (a1) (a3) and Y Wang (a1) (a4)



Viral gene therapy is a promising new treatment modality for head and neck cancer. This paper provides the reader with a review of the relevant literature in this field.


There are government licensed viral gene therapy products currently in use for head and neck cancer, utilised in conjunction with established treatment modalities. The viruses target tumour-associated genes, with the first licensed virus replacing p53 gene function, which is frequently lost in tumourigenesis. Oncolytic viruses selectively destroy cancer cells through viral replication and can be armed with therapeutic transgenes.


Despite considerable advances in this field over the last 40 years, further research is needed to improve the overall efficacy of the viruses and allow their widespread utilisation in the management of head and neck cancer.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Mr J P Hughes, c/o ENT secretaries, 3rd floor South Wing, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Charing Cross Hospital, Fulham Palace Road, London W6 8RF, UK Fax: 020 3311 1070, E-mail:


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J P Hughes was the recipient of an award from The Journal of Laryngology & Otology towards his PhD in 2009.



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Viral gene therapy for head and neck cancer

  • J P Hughes (a1) (a2), G Alusi (a1) (a3) and Y Wang (a1) (a4)


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