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Thoracic Oncology Research Laboratory, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Division, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104-4283, USA.
Gene therapy for mesothelioma is currently in its adolescence. The expansion of knowledge regarding molecular aspects of mesothelioma carcinogenesis has facilitated the development of promising gene therapy modalities that target specific oncoproteins and mutant tumor suppressor genes. Although implementation of any of these gene therapy approaches as part of standard medical care for patients who have mesothelioma remains years in the future, the field is finally progressing toward more definitive phase II/III efficacy studies. Unfortunately, the marginal benefits garnered from standard anticancer treatments in mesothelioma argue strongly for continued participation in clinical studies of various experimental approaches, particularly gene therapy. These trials serve multiple purposes: to establish safety, determine proper dosing, evaluate for efficacy, and, in an iterative fashion, guide future avenues of laboratory investigation.