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We describe a simple technology used to cure an established metastatic disease. Intradermal injection of plasmid DNA encoding a transcriptionally targeted cytotoxic gene, along with hsp70, not only promoted tissue-specific, inflammatory killing of normal melanocytes, but also induced a CD8(+) T-cell-dependent, antigen-specific response in mice that eradicated systemically established B16 tumors. This CD8(+) T cell response was subsequently suppressed in vivo within a few days. The data demonstrate that deliberate destruction of normal tissue can be exploited to generate immunity against a malignant disease originating from that tissue. This approach obviates the need to identify tumor antigens and does not require complex isolation of tumor cells or their derivatives. In addition, it provides a model system for studying the mechanisms underlying the etiology and control of autoimmune diseases. Finally, despite targeting normal tissue, therapy could be separated from development of overt autoimmune symptoms, suggesting that the strategy may be valuable against tumors derived from both non-essential and essential tissue types.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Biotechnol

Publication Date





1125 - 1132


Animals, Antigens, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Genetic Therapy, Immunity, Innate, Immunization, Immunotherapy, Melanocytes, Melanoma, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Nude, Survival Analysis, Thymidine Kinase, Treatment Outcome, Viral Proteins