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Publication Title

Technology in Cancer Research & Treatment










Electroporation (EP) is a method used to physically deliver therapeutic molecules such as plasmid DNA directly to tissues. It has been used safely and successfully in clinical studies and preclinical cancer models to deliver genes to a variety of tissues. In cancer research cytokine therapy is emerging as a promising tool that can be used to boost the host response to tumor antigens. The delivery of cytokines as recombinant proteins can result in toxicity and other adverse effects; however the delivery of cytokine genes using EP has been shown to be safe and effective. Interleukin 15 (IL-15) is a cytokine that promotes the innate as well as the adaptive immune response to cancer cells and bacterial pathogens. In this study we used EP to deliver a human IL-15 plasmid (phIL-15) directly to tumors to examine its anti-cancer effects. B16.F10 melanoma tumors were induced in C57BL/6J mice and phIL-15 was delivered three times over the course of a week. Expression of the transgene, tumor volume, long-term survival and resistance to challenge were monitored in these animals. Delivery of IL-15 plasmid by EP resulted in increased IL-15 expression within the tumor compared to the injection only control. This expression peaked at 12 to 18 hours after the first delivery and was sustained at lower levels after the second and third deliveries. The delivery of the phIL-15 resulted in tumor regression, long-term survival and greater protection against tumor recurrence when cancer cells were reintroduced compared to control plasmid. From these results we can conclude that the delivery of IL-15 plasmid to tumors using EP is a promising avenue to investigate for its anti-tumor effects, however more work needs to be done to increase the stability of the gene once it is delivered and to elucidate the anti-tumor mechanism.


© Adenine Press 2014

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0) license.

Original Publication Citation

Marrero, B., Shirley, S., & Heller, R. (2014). Delivery of interleukin-15 to B16 melanoma by electroporation leads to tumor regression and long-term survival. Technology in Cancer Research and Treatment, 13(6), 551-560.


0000-0003-1899-3859 (Heller)