Genetically engineered virus kills liver cancer

February 10, 2013

A genetically-engineered virus tested in 30 terminally-ill liver cancer patients significantly prolonged their lives, killing tumours and inhibiting the growth of new ones, scientists reported on Sunday.

Sixteen patients given a high dose of the therapy survived for 14.1 months on average, compared to 6.7 months for the 14 who got the low dose.

"For the first time in medical history we have shown that a genetically-engineered virus can improve survival of cancer patients," study co-author David Kirn told AFP.

The four-week trial with the vaccine Pexa-Vec or JX-594, reported in the journal Nature Medicine, may hold promise for the treatment of advanced solid tumours.

"Despite advances in over the past 30 years with chemotherapy and biologics, the majority of solid tumours remain incurable once they are metastatic (have spread to other organs)," the authors wrote.

There was a need for the development of "more potent active immunotherapies", they noted.

Pexa-Vec "is designed to multiply in and subsequently destroy cancer cells, while at the same time making the patients' own system attack cancer cells also," said Kirn from California-based biotherapy company Jennerex.

"The results demonstrated that Pexa-Vec treatment at both doses resulted in a reduction of tumour size and decreased blood flow to tumours," said a Jennerex statement.

"The data further demonstrates that Pexa-Vec treatment induced an against the tumour."

Pexa-Vec has been engineered from the vaccinia virus, which has been used as a vaccine for decades, including in the eradication of smallpox.

The trial showed Pexa-Vec to be well tolerated both at high and low doses, with flu-like symptoms lasting a day or two in all patients and severe in one.

The authors said a larger trial has to confirm the results. A follow-up phase with about 120 patients is already underway.

Pexa-Vec is also being tested in other types of .

Explore further: Cancer therapy goes viral: Results of world-first viral therapy trial in cancer patients announced

More information: DOI: 10.1038/nm.3089

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Mike_Massen
3 / 5 (8) Feb 10, 2013
Some great news, this could have been done thousands of years ago if churches did not get in the way of investigation with this edict "..do not look too closely into the work of our Lord..".

Have great sympathy for Hannah, a friendly and great teacher of Food Science at Curtin School of Public health in Perth, Western Australia where I studied in 2010, who succumbed to this cancer and died last year.

The machinery of viruses and that of cells doesnt really seem to have any immaterial aspects, its stuff, interactions with an informational base. Life is just very complex chemistry with immensely complicated feedback paths and by such seeming order within a field of chaos it must therefore be subject to change and as such, Evolution over immense time frames is inevitable with all the permutations of diversity available to nature to explore.
praos
2.1 / 5 (7) Feb 10, 2013
Mike Massen, it's even more than that. Church invented the cancer itself, just to humilate humanity.
loneislander
1 / 5 (4) Feb 10, 2013
Some great news, this could have been done thousands of years ago if churches did not get in the way of investigation with this edict "..do not look too closely into the work of our Lord..".

Y'gotta admit, though, in medieval times it sure kept the crowd from lynching those who had even a little idea of what was going on.

[Premise: Religion's evolutionary purpose (thus its existence) was (is) to provide centralized control (causation, prevention, management) of violence.]


Newbeak
5 / 5 (1) Feb 10, 2013
I think we are finally going to see effective controls or cures for cancer,not only by using viruses: http://planetsave...-tumors/
Sanescience
not rated yet Feb 10, 2013
Certainly improve treatments are of benefit. However studies have hinted that many cancers are not just "cancer". There is strong evidence that there are stem cells that need to be found and destroyed before a cancer cure is realized. Lets cross our collective fingers that such progress is made in the next decade.
JRi
5 / 5 (1) Feb 11, 2013
I wonder why the patients eventually did die. I would have assumed the virus to destroy the cancer alltogether.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Feb 11, 2013
I wonder why the patients eventually did die.

Cancer spreads and replaces functional body tissue (or outright crowds body organs to the point where they will cease function). Killing cancer cells when the cancer has spread is not the same thing as making a recovery to full health. (The cancer isn't the thing that kills you eventually. It's the loss of sufficient function of your bodily organs for lack of enough functional cells that does)

Then we have to remember that 'cancer' is a vastly generalized term. There are many types which are susceptible to different things.

I would have assumed the virus to destroy the cancer alltogether.

The immune system also becomes hip to the virus after a while (that's its job, after all). Once your immune system is trained to kill that virus treatment becomes less effective. Any cancer cells that remain will flourish again after that.
Telekinetic
2 / 5 (4) Feb 12, 2013
Let's not forget that the pharmaceutical business is also culpable in the delay or suppression of cancer therapies. Burzynski's antineoplaston therapy is finally being given credence after years of harassment by the FDA and other agencies acting as goons for the pharmaceuticals. His operation, with a track record of cancer cures, is one of many that are treated like terrorists. There is also real criminality in what's allowed in the air we breathe, water we drink, and food we eat. It's much easier to prevent cancer before it gets a stranglehold on your system.
Mike_Massen
1 / 5 (2) Feb 13, 2013
Is praos just offering 'pub talk' with
Mike Massen, it's even more than that. Church invented the cancer itself, just to humilate humanity.
Care to expand on this notion, this is a Science site afterall - not two guys mumbling discontent over a beer at the local bar where misery loves company ;-)

Thanks

Mike_Massen
1 / 5 (2) Feb 13, 2013
loneislander offered
Y'gotta admit, though, in medieval times it sure kept the crowd from lynching those who had even a little idea of what was going on.
depends on how 'a little idea' was interpreted as a threat by those in power who had no idea. Intelligence and unusual knowledge was often considered a potential threat to the status quo and to some degree still is.

loneislander continued
Premise: Religion's evolutionary purpose (thus its existence) was (is) to provide centralised control (causation, prevention, management) of violence.
A reach !

Doubt it, its a side effect, church's all through history have pushed for violence to handle potential threats eg The Crusades. Its about power & some semblance of the stability to allow un-interupted power & if that needed violence then so be it. History is replete with examples...

Power over resources, food, lands, serfs, slaves etc much like an organism though with the added capacity for paranoia, Eg Medieval witch trials.
Telekinetic
1 / 5 (2) Feb 13, 2013
The Church of the Vatican was a sex club to procure youngsters. The Nazi Pope is retiring because he can't get it up with altar boys anymore. Happy Ass Wednesday.
Judgeking
not rated yet Feb 17, 2013
'Genetically engineered virus' cancer cure = I Am Legend
Bring on the zombocalypse!

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