The plethora of recombinant lymphokines that have recently become available has led to renewed hope for an immunotherapeutic solution to cancer. Many lymphokines, either singly or in combination, have already shown promise in animal trials and in preliminary human trials. Systemic lymphokine toxicity has been the major constraint on this type of therapy, often precluding the use of doses sufficient to induce tumour regression. To realize the therapeutic potential of recombinant lymphokines against cancer, alternative modes of delivery are needed which maximally stimulate local anti-tumour responses whilst causing minimal systemic toxicity. In this article, Stephen Russell proposes that tumour cell targeted lymphokine gene therapy would optimize lymphokine delivery. Some of the practical difficulties likely to be encountered with such an approach are also discussed.
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