Cancer-fighting virus shows promise in early clinical trial

July 8, 2007

A virus that has been specifically designed by scientists to be safe to normal tissue but deadly to cancer is showing early promise in a preliminary study, researchers said at the ESMO Conference Lugano (ECLU), Switzerland.

The virus, called NV1020, is a type of herpes simplex virus modified so that it selectively replicates in virus cells, killing them in the process.

“It doesn’t replicate in normal, healthy cells, so our hope is that it will help fight cancers without causing side-effects in the rest of the body,” said Dr. Axel Mescheder, VP Clinical Research & Development, from the Munich-based biotech company MediGene. The study is conducted in seven leading US-cancer centers, with Dr. Tony Reid from the University of California in San Diego, CA as Principal Investigator. Dr. Mescheder presented preliminary safety and efficacy results and a case report from this ongoing clinical trial in patients with colorectal cancer metastatic to the liver at the meeting.

Dr. Mescheder’s poster presentation described the case of a patient whose cancer had spread to 10 different places around the liver and four in the lungs. He was given the virus treatment in four weekly infusions direct into blood stream, followed by two cycles of approved chemotherapy.

Six months after treatment, scans showed the liver masses had nearly disappeared. “The reduction in the tumor masses was really impressive in this patient,” Dr. Mescheder said. “The hepatic masses almost disappeared.”

The patient survived for 12 months after treatment.

“In the current study, the scientists are testing the treatment in patients with colorectal cancer that have not responded to chemotherapy and where the cancer has spread to the liver,” Dr. Mescheder said. “We are hoping to extend overall survival.”

So far, the findings are looking positive. The treatment seems very tolerable for patients and safe. “The results are really quite encouraging at this early stage,” he said.

Almost 40% of patients with colorectal cancer ultimately die from metastatic disease, where the cancer spreads to other parts of the body. Most of the spreading occurs to the liver and 15% of patients have liver metastases at the time of diagnosis.

The latest human results reported today follow testing in the lab and in animals where the virus was shown to be effective at killing colorectal cancer cells and liver cancers.

Source: European Society for Medical Oncology

Explore further: VCP protein inhibitor found to help virus kill liver tumors

Related Stories

VCP protein inhibitor found to help virus kill liver tumors

August 24, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with members from several institutions in China has found that combining a VCP protein inhibitor with a virus that naturally targets liver cancer tumors made the virus much more potent. ...

Cancer drug can reactivate HIV

August 24, 2017
People living with HIV must take a combination of three or more different drugs every day for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, by following this strict treatment plan, they can suffer from side effects ranging from ...

People who use drugs require prioritization, not exclusion, in HCV elimination

September 6, 2017
An international conference bringing together hepatitis C experts from around the world is today calling for strategies to prioritise people who use drugs, saying hepatitis C elimination is impossible without them.

Which vaccinations should I get as an adult?

August 29, 2017
Before vaccines were developed, infectious diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus and meningitis were the leading cause of death and illness in the world. Vaccines are one of the greatest public health achievements in history, ...

Lab-made "mini organs" helping doctors treat cystic fibrosis

August 23, 2017
Els van der Heijden, who has cystic fibrosis, was finding it ever harder to breathe as her lungs filled with thick, sticky mucus. Despite taking more than a dozen pills and inhalers a day, the 53-year-old had to stop working ...

Treatment benefits patients with thalassaemia and HCV

June 29, 2017
Many individuals with the blood disorder thalassaemia also carry the hepatitis C virus (HCV) due to contaminated transfusions before 1990. Due to the co-existence of iron overload (from repeated blood transfusions), these ...

Recommended for you

Targeted antibiotic use may help cure chronic myeloid leukaemia

September 19, 2017
The antibiotic tigecycline, when used in combination with current treatment, may hold the key to eradicating chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) cells, according to new research.

Bone marrow protein a 'magnet' for passing prostate cancer cells

September 19, 2017
Scientists at the University of York have shown that a protein in the bone marrow acts like a 'magnetic docking station' for prostate cancer cells, helping them grow and spread outside of the prostate.

Brain cancer breakthrough could provide better treatment

September 19, 2017
A new discovery about the most common type of childhood brain cancer could transform treatment for young patients by enabling doctors to give the most effective therapies.

Researchers compose guidelines for handling CAR T cell side effects

September 19, 2017
Immune-cell based therapies opening a new frontier for cancer treatment carry unique, potentially lethal side effects that provide a new challenge for oncologists, one addressed by a team led by clinicians at The University ...

A new paradigm for treating transcription factor-driven cancers

September 18, 2017
In the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Nationwide Children's Hospital describe a new paradigm for treating transcription factor-driven cancers. The study focuses on Ewing ...

Altitude training for cancer-fighting cells

September 18, 2017
Mountain climbers and endurance athletes are not the only ones to benefit from altitude training - that is, learning to perform well under low-oxygen conditions. It turns out that cancer-fighting cells of the immune system ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.