Harald Sauthoff MD

New York University, New York, NY Assistant Professor of Medicine Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine

Research Focus: Modification of Adenovirus for Gene Therapy

Cancer Type: Breast & Lung Cancer

Award: Young Investigator

2006-2009 Research Grant:

Available data indicate that adenoviral cancer gene therapy, using tumor suppressor or other genes, is safe and could be highly effective for many types of cancer. In cell culture experiments, cancer cells can easily be eliminated with adenoviral vectors. However, in solid tumors, efficient viral gene transfer has been extremely difficult to achieve, and results from human trials show only modest response rates. Limited distribution of the virus, even with replication-competent viruses, has emerged as one of the main obstacles for adenoviral-mediated cancer gene therapy. We are testing the hypothesis that protein transduction technology can improve adenoviral vectors for the treatment of cancer. Protein transduction domains are short peptides that can penetrate intact cell membranes. We are investigating if adenoviral expression of therapeutic peptides fused to a protein transduction domain will mediate wider intratumoral distribution of the therapeutic agent and lead to more efficient cancer therapy. Delivery of transducible peptides with adenoviral vectors is a new strategy that could find broad application for cancer gene therapy.

Current Research:

Dr. Sauthoff has continued his research on adenoviral cancer gene therapy as well as other types of virotherapy. He is looking at how changes within the tumor matrix itself may affect the outcome of these different types of therapies and ways to improve the effectiveness of gene delivery. Dr. Sauthoff has also identified a protein (Angiopoietin-1) that alleviates and reduces lung edema, a condition where fluid accumulates in the air sacs of the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. He is also attempting to use gene therapy to deliver the gene coding for this protein potentially through adenoviruses as well.

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