Gene therapy is known as one of the most advanced approaches for therapeutic prospects ranging from tackling genetic diseases to combating cancer. In this approach, different viral and nonviral vector systems such as retrovirus, lentivirus, plasmid and transposon have been designed and employed. These vector systems are designed to target different therapeutic genes in various tissues and cells such as tumor cells. Therefore, detection of the vectors containing therapeutic genes and monitoring of response to the treatment are the main issues that are commonly faced by researchers. Imaging techniques have been critical in guiding physicians in the more accurate and precise diagnosis and monitoring of cancer patients in different phases of malignancies. Imaging techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET) and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) are non-invasive and powerful tools for monitoring of the distribution of transgene expression over time and assessing patients who have received therapeutic genes. Here, we discuss most recent advances in cancer gene therapy and molecular approaches as well as imaging techniques that are utilized to detect cancer gene therapeutics and to monitor the patients' response to these therapies worldwide, particularly in Iranian Academic Medical Centers and Hospitals.Cancer Gene Therapy advance online publication, 18 November 2016; doi:10.1038/cgt.2016.62.
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