Clinical trial uses a genetically engineered virus to fight cancer

August 15, 2017, Sanford Health
Dr. Steven Powell. Credit: Sanford Health

Sanford Health is the first site in the United States to launch a clinical trial using a genetically-engineered virus that aims to destroy therapy-resistant tumors.

The Phase I immunotherapy trial is for those ages 18 and older with metastatic solid tumors that have not responded to standard treatments. The treatment injects an oncolytic (cancer-destroying) virus—vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)—into the tumor. The virus is engineered to grow in cancer cells, destroy these tumors, and then spread to other cancer sites. During this process, it recruits the immune system to the area with the goal of triggering an immune response.

The virus, commonly known as VSV, can infect cattle, but it rarely causes serious infections in humans.

The virus is genetically altered by adding two genes. The first gene is a human interferon beta gene, which is a natural anti-viral protein. This protects the normal, healthy cells from being infected, while still allowing the virus to work against .

The second gene makes the NIS protein found in the thyroid gland, which allows the researchers to track the virus as it spreads to tumor sites. Vyriad, a biopharmaceutical company in Rochester, Minnesota, developed this technology and is led by Stephen Russell, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of molecular medicine at the Mayo Clinic and an expert in oncolytic virus therapy.

"Oncolytic viruses are the next wave of promising cancer immunotherapy treatments," says Dr. Steven Powell, a medical oncologist with the Sanford Cancer Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., who collaborated with Vyriad on the development of this clinical trial. "We are very excited about using VSV as researchers have seen promising results using other similar viruses, such as the , in early ."

Dr. Shannon Peck, an interventional radiologist at Sanford with experience in interventional therapeutics, oversees the viral injection procedures. Enrollees in the trial are given a one-time injection and then are followed for 43 days to evaluate for safety and clinical benefit. To ensure safety during this period, other anti-cancer therapies cannot be used. However, after this 43-day period, chemotherapy, immunotherapy or targeted therapy can be restarted.

Sanford Health is the first in the nation to launch the Vyriad solid oncolytic clinical trial. Call 1-877-SURVIVAL to learn more or to see if you qualify.

Explore further: First study of Oncolytic HSV-1 in children and young adults with cancer indicates safety, tolerability

Related Stories

First study of Oncolytic HSV-1 in children and young adults with cancer indicates safety, tolerability

May 11, 2017
HSV1716 - an oncolytic herpes simplex virus-1 - has been studied in adults via injection into the brain and superficial tumors. Now, a team of researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital and Cincinnati Children's Hospital ...

Junction opening protein boosts cancer-killing effect of oncolytic virus

May 10, 2016
A new study shows that the anti-tumor effect of oncolytic virus therapy is significantly greater in mice when the virus is genetically modified to express a junction opening (JO) protein, which helps the cancer-killing agent ...

Low dose of targeted drug might improve cancer-killing virus therapy

June 16, 2014
Giving low doses of a particular targeted agent with a cancer-killing virus might improve the effectiveness of the virus as a treatment for cancer, according to a study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive ...

FDA approves cancer-killing cold sore virus as therapy for late-stage melanoma

October 28, 2015
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on Oct. 27 that it has approved, for the first time, an oncolytic (cancer-killing) viral therapy in the United States. The drug was approved for use against late-stage melanoma, ...

Combining immunotherapies effective against mouse model of cancer

June 19, 2017
Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer made up of cells that normally develop into skeletal muscles, is the most common soft tissue cancer in children. If it is detected early and localized in certain areas, rhabdomyosarcoma is usually ...

Adenoviruses and the immune system join forces against cancer

February 16, 2017
Researchers of the Cancer Virotherapy Research Group of Bellvitge Biomedicine Research Institute (IDIBELL), led by Dr. Ramon Alemany, have developed an oncolytic virus capable of redirecting the patient's immune system against ...

Recommended for you

Similarities found in cancer initiation in kidney, liver, stomach, pancreas

February 21, 2018
Recent research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis demonstrated that mature cells in the stomach sometimes revert back to behaving like rapidly dividing stem cells. Now, the researchers have found that ...

Genes activated in metastasis also drive the first stages of tumour growth

February 21, 2018
In spite of the difference between the cell functions responsible for giving rise to a tumour and that give rise to metastasis, studies at IRB Barcelona using the fly Drosophila melanogaster reveal that some genes can drive ...

Researchers discover novel mechanism linking changes in mitochondria to cancer cell death

February 20, 2018
To stop the spread of cancer, cancer cells must die. Unfortunately, many types of cancer cells seem to use innate mechanisms that block cancer cell death, therefore allowing the cancer to metastasize. While seeking to further ...

Stem cell vaccine immunizes lab mice against multiple cancers

February 15, 2018
Stanford University researchers report that injecting mice with inactivated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) launched a strong immune response against breast, lung, and skin cancers. The vaccine also prevented relapses ...

Induced pluripotent stem cells could serve as cancer vaccine, researchers say

February 15, 2018
Induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, are a keystone of regenerative medicine. Outside the body, they can be coaxed to become many different types of cells and tissues that can help repair damage due to trauma or ...

Team paves the way to the use of immunotherapy to treat aggressive colon tumors

February 15, 2018
In a short space of time, immunotherapy against cancer cells has become a powerful approach to treat cancers such as melanoma and lung cancer. However, to date, most colon tumours appeared to be unresponsive to this kind ...

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.