Oncolytic viruses effectively target and kill pancreatic cancer stem cells

May 9, 2011, Digestive Disease Week

Oncolytic viruses quickly infect and kill cancer stem cells, which may provide a treatment for tumors that are resistant to conventional chemotherapy and radiation, particularly pancreatic cancer, according to new research from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The findings are especially important since pancreatic cancer has a poor prognosis and is difficult to detect and treat at early stages.

Investigators led by Joyce Wong, MD, surgical researcher with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, investigated whether they could use oncolytic viruses, which are naturally occurring viruses that have been genetically engineered to be safe and express tracking genes, as a possible therapy against stem cells. These stem cells are thought to cause disease recurrence and metastasis, even after therapy, and oncolytic viruses may offer a new treatment strategy.

"What we learned is that oncolytic viruses have been engineered to selectively target and have a low toxicity profile in animal studies," said Dr. Wong. "Targeting the cancer stem cell may enhance our ability to eradicate tumors and prevent future recurrence of disease."

While much research has been performed on isolating the cancer stem cell from various hematologic cancers, this research was based on the presence or absence of certain cell surface markers. Numerous mechanisms of how these cancer stem cells resist chemotherapy and radiation have also been examined. But to date, there have not been any studies evaluating whether genetically engineered viruses can target and kill pancreatic cancer stem cells.

Investigators sought to determine whether the viruses containing a marker gene that expresses could infect pancreatic cancer and ultimately kill the cancer stem cell. Their findings were promising and documented that viral activity was correlated with green fluorescent .

Dr. Wong added that future studies are warranted to determine whether oncolytic virus administration in vivo will help eradicate tumors and prevent future , and that while these initial findings are encouraging, further study is necessary to see whether oncolytic viruses will be clinically useful as a therapy.

Dr. Wong will present these data on Monday, May 9 at 10:00 a.m. CT in S505, McCormick Place.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New approach attacks 'undruggable' cancers from the outside in

January 23, 2018
Cancer researchers have made great strides in developing targeted therapies that treat the specific genetic mutations underlying a patient's cancer. However, many of the most common cancer-causing genes are so central to ...

Study: Cells of three advanced cancers die with drug-like compounds that reverse chemo failure

January 23, 2018
Researchers at Southern Methodist University have discovered three drug-like compounds that successfully reverse chemotherapy failure in three of the most commonly aggressive cancers—ovarian, prostate and breast.

'Hijacker' drives cancer in some patients with high-risk neuroblastoma

January 23, 2018
Researchers have identified mechanisms that drive about 10 percent of high-risk neuroblastoma cases and have used a new approach to show how the cancer genome "hijacks" DNA that regulates other genes. The resulting insights ...

Enzyme inhibitor combined with chemotherapy delays glioblastoma growth

January 23, 2018
In animal experiments, a human-derived glioblastoma significantly regressed when treated with the combination of an experimental enzyme inhibitor and the standard glioblastoma chemotherapy drug, temozolomide.

Researchers identify a protein that keeps metastatic breast cancer cells dormant

January 23, 2018
A study headed by ICREA researcher Roger Gomis at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) has identified the genes involved in the latent asymptomatic state of breast cancer metastases. The work sheds light ...

Scientists block the siren call of two aggressive cancers

January 23, 2018
Aggressive cancers like glioblastoma and metastatic breast cancer have in common a siren call that beckons the bone marrow to send along whatever the tumors need to survive and thrive.

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.