An adenovector (or DNA carrier), TNFerade (view paper) contains the gene for tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), an immune system protein with potent and well-documented anti-cancer effects, for direct injection into tumors.
The TNFα gene is turned on when the tumor is exposed to radiation therapy, resulting in high doses of chemotherapy within the tumor. TNF not only leads to direct tumor killing, it also enhances the ability of radiation to destroy the tumor cells.
TNFerade is currently used at UCSD in a number of tumor sites, notably pancreatic cancer.
If you are interested in learning more about TNFerade and the nation wide study of its use in pancreatic cancer, check out the GenVec website (manufacturers of TNFerade).
TNFerade was invented by Ralph Weishselbaum, M.D., a mentor to UCSD Radiation Oncologists Drs. Arno Mundt and Kevin Murphy. Dr. Mundt was the principal investigators on one of the first clinical trials evaluating TNFerade performed in the United States.