Expert Insight: Track gene expression: Address the dynamics of gene transfer efficiency in cancer therapies

Watch this on-demand webinar to learn how real-time imaging can be used to track gene expression in live cancer cells

28 Nov 2019


Dr. Pierre Cordelier, senior researcher at the Toulouse Cancer Research Center, France
Dr. Pierre Cordelier, senior researcher at the Toulouse Cancer Research Center

As one of the most common cancers worldwide, pancreatic cancer is estimated to account for 7% of all cancer deaths in the United States and is the third-largest cause of death by cancer in Western countries.

But with no specific symptoms, no early biomarkers, and very few therapeutic options available (other than surgery), research into the causes, diagnosis and treatment of this cancer has never been more important.

In this SelectScience® webinar, now available on demand, Dr. Pierre Cordelier, senior researcher at the Toulouse Cancer Research Center, France, discusses how real-time imaging can be used to track gene expression in live cancer cells.

Read on for highlights from the Twitter Q&A session or register to watch the full webinar on demand.

Q: Can you work with tumor spheroids/organoids? 

PC: This is not easy, but yes, with particular 96-well plates.

Q: How long can you maintain cell cultures?

PC: Up to seven days with low density and medium change.

Q: Can you derive the percentage of infected cells, or cell numbers, from this data?

PC: You can derive the percentage of infected cells in short-term, low cell density experiments, but not for long-term or high cell density experiments because positive objects will eventually emerge.

Q: Why are you using oncolytic viruses as gene therapies?

PC: You don't need to infect all cells because the virus will replicate and kill cells in many different ways, so this provides a chance to overcome tumor resistance and heterogeneity.

Q: Do you plan on translating this work to the clinic soon?

PC: We have done this in the past for non-viral vectors, so we have a clinical pipeline ready, and the virus we have selected is already clinical grade.

Q: What are the next steps for your research?

PC: We hope to better understand the crosstalk between the virus and cancer cells to better select potential combinations and improve the therapeutic outcome.

Q: What methods are showing promise towards finding a cure?

PC: There are currently some very interesting, ongoing clinical trials for pancreatic cancer management, ranging from chemotherapies to precision medicine and targeted therapies.

Q: Can someone be asymptomatic?

PC: Pancreatic cancer is well-known as a silent disease, with few specific symptoms. Unfortunately, once metastases are present, the prognosis is very poor.

Q: How quickly after infection are the cells killed?

PC: This depends on the dose and the virus. It can be less than 24 hours or up to 72 hours, thanks to the viral replication.

Q: How specific is this approach?

PC: Oncolytic viruses are very specific to cancer cells. They can only enter these cells and will only replicate in these cells. This is because a) the antiviral defense is gone in cancer cells and 2) the viruses are parasites that rely on cellular resources to grow, and the latter are very high in cancer cells.

Find out more on this topic by watching the full webinar on demand>>

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