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Old 07-11-2007, 09:47 AM
Iggy Dalrymple's Avatar
Iggy Dalrymple Iggy Dalrymple is offline
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Default Modified Herpes Virus Kills Tumors

Quote:
MediGene's modified virus kills tumours

By Mike Nagle

11/07/2007 - MediGene has revealed clinical results for its modified herpes virus that can selectively kill cancer tumours, while leaving healthy cells intact.

Dr Axel Mescheder, head of R&D at the Munich-based biotech recently presented "really impressive" results from an ongoing Phase I/II trial of its NV1020 oncolytic virus in colorectal cancer patients whose tumour has spread to the liver.

At a poster session at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in Switzerland, he described one specific patient's case where, after treatment with the virus and two cycles of chemotherapy, the patient's cancer had nearly disappeared from the liver.

Given that almost 40 per cent of colorectal cancer patients eventually die due to the tumours spreading, a new treatment that could slow down this progression will bring hope to those diagnosed with the disease. Up to 15 per cent of patients already have liver metastasis at the time of diagnosis.

The therapy is based on a specific herpes simplex virus (HSV), which normally kills cells when it reproduces. However, MediGene has 'disarmed' it by switching off genes that enable the virus to multiply. What is left is a HSV that can only multiply in tumour cells, thanks to the unusual environment found there.

"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 Mescheder.



The clinical trial is still continuing at seven US cancer centres, with Dr Tony Reid from the University of California as the principal investigator. The drug is being tested in patients with colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver. In the case of the specific patient described by Dr Mescheder, his cancer had spread to 10 different sites in the liver and four in the lungs. He was given the virus in four, weekly infusions before receiving chemotherapy.

When the patient was re-checked after six months, the doctors discovered that the liver masses had almost completely disappeared. The patient survived for 12 months after treatment, with overall survival time one of the main endpoints of the study.

The drug is also being tested against glioblastoma - the most aggressive form of brain cancer. With current therapies, the average patient survival time is between 12 and 15 months and glioblastomas have a near 80 per cent mortality rate within two years, irrespective of treatment. Novel therapies are therefore desperately needed for this indication also. http://www.drugresearcher.com/news/n...dggtmjqqywwfsl
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