Published: 26-03-2010 00:00 | Updated: 26-11-2013 10:29

Tomato genes future treatment against brain tumors

[NEWS, 26 March 2010] Gene therapy on a tomato gene could be of value in future treatment of brain tumors, according to a new study from Karolinska Institutet and Lund University. The findings are presented online in the scientific journal Neuro Oncology.

Tomas EkströmPhoto: Stefan Zimmerman

Research on gene therapy has been underway for a long time and last autumn the first gene therapy treatment was launched onto the market by a company in Finland. The idea of gene therapy is to introduce an alien gene into a patient's cancer cells. In combination with a specific drug, the introduced gene can cause the cancer cells to die. The tumor does not disappear, but the hope is that the disease can be halted for a couple of years.

The presented results show that the tomato gene, together with nerve stem cells, could be a superior alternative to the main ingredient that is used by the finish company. In the tomato the gene's actual task is to produce small building blocks for the plant's genetic make-up, but in combination with the drug AZT the tomato gene appears to kill the cancer cells. AZT is a drug that was first developed in the fight against HIV.


Khan Z, Knecht W, Willer M, Rozpedowska E, Kristoffersen P, Clausen AR, Munch-Petersen B, Almqvist PM, Gojkovic Z, Piskur J, Ekström TJ

Plant thymidine kinase 1: a novel efficient suicide gene for malignant glioma therapy

Neuro Oncol, Epub ahead of print 13 Feb 2010