Scientific reports

Gene therapy for human glioblastoma using neurotropic JC virus-like particles as a gene delivery vector.

PMID 29396437


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common malignant brain tumor, has a short period of survival even with recent multimodality treatment. The neurotropic JC polyomavirus (JCPyV) infects glial cells and oligodendrocytes and causes fatal progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in patients with AIDS. In this study, a possible gene therapy strategy for GBM using JCPyV virus-like particles (VLPs) as a gene delivery vector was investigated. We found that JCPyV VLPs were able to deliver the GFP reporter gene into tumor cells (U87-MG) for expression. In an orthotopic xenograft model, nude mice implanted with U87 cells expressing the near-infrared fluorescent protein and then treated by intratumoral injection of JCPyV VLPs carrying the thymidine kinase suicide gene, combined with ganciclovir administration, exhibited significantly prolonged survival and less tumor fluorescence during the experiment compared with controls. Furthermore, JCPyV VLPs were able to protect and deliver a suicide gene to distal subcutaneously implanted U87 cells in nude mice via blood circulation and inhibit tumor growth. These findings show that metastatic brain tumors can be targeted by JCPyV VLPs carrying a therapeutic gene, thus demonstrating the potential of JCPyV VLPs to serve as a gene therapy vector for the far highly treatment-refractory GBM.