Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers testing virus-gene therapy combination against melanoma

06.07.2009
Researchers at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center are injecting a modified herpes virus into melanoma tumors, hoping to kill the cancer cells while also bolstering the body's immune defenses against the disease.

Gregory Daniels, MD, PhD, assistant clinical professor of medicine at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and his co-workers are comparing the modified virus treatment, called OncoVEX GM-CSF, to general immune system stimulation with the immune-boosting protein GM-CSF in an international phase III trial for patients with advanced melanoma. The Moores UCSD Cancer Center is the only site in San Diego for the clinical trial.

Melanoma, the most dangerous kind of skin cancer, takes about 60,000 lives a year in this country. "Melanoma has always been curable, but only in a small fraction of patients," Daniels said. "Local tumor killing with immune activation may provide an additional tool to increase this number to a larger population of cancer patients."

According to Daniels, the injected virus appears to preferentially infect cancer cells, leading to tumor death. The expression of the GM-CSF protein may also direct an immune attack against both infected and non-infected tumors. The virus has in essence been genetically reprogrammed to target the cancer cells, while healthy cells remain relatively untouched. The research team is testing the two-pronged attack of direct tumor cell killing and immune activation. Their aim is to see if it will help those patients whose cancer has spread to other areas of the body to live longer without disease than has been possible with standard therapies.

While the field of cancer immunotherapy – employing the body's own immune system to fight cancer – has had mixed results to date, Daniels remains hopeful. Earlier stage testing showed that about 26 percent of patients receiving the OncoVEX GM-CSF therapy had either a partial or complete response, meaning their cancer either stopped growing or regressed.

Daniels said that while the therapy has been shown in earlier testing to destroy the injected tumors to some degree, it also causes a general change in the immune system, occasionally shrinking uninjected tumors. "It's a more active type of immunotherapy, causing a cascade of immune system activity in the body," he said.

The team hopes to enroll 30 patients with advanced melanoma. The cancer in these individuals cannot be removed surgically, and the patients must have had one failed prior therapy. The goal of the trial is not necessarily to cure the patients of their cancer, but to enable them to live disease-free for at least six months and longer. In all, 360 patients worldwide will ultimately participate in the trial. Twice as many patients will get the virus as will get the GM-CSF alone. As this is not a blinded study, those running the trial will know who is getting which therapy, but the treatments are randomly assigned to participants.

The virus infection-immune system-boosting approach could potentially be used for other types of cancers, Daniels said, such as colon, breast, prostate, bladder and lung.

OncoVEX GM-CSF is made by BioVex, a Woburn, MA-based biotechnology company.

For more information about this trial, please contact Trang Tran, clinical trials coordinator, at 858-822-4171 or melanoma@ucsd.edu.

The Moores UCSD Cancer Center is one of the nation's 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, combining research, clinical care and community outreach to advance the prevention, treatment and cure of cancer.

Steve Benowitz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu
http://health.ucsd.edu/cancer

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short
23.03.2017 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

nachricht WPI team grows heart tissue on spinach leaves
23.03.2017 | Worcester Polytechnic Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>