A single injection of a genetically engineered virus has shown promise as a treatment for patients with colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver, according to preliminary results reported today at the 2nd ESMO Scientific & Educational Conference (ESEC) in Budapest, Hungary.
In their phase I study, Professor Nancy Kemeny from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and colleagues tested an oncolytic Herpes simplex virus (oHSV). These viruses selectively kill cancer cells while sparing normal tissue and are considered a promising new strategy to treat tumors. They have already been shown to be effective against chemotherapy-resistant cancers in preclinical studies. The specific strain of virus investigated by Prof. Kemeny’s team was NV1020, weakened and altered form of herpes simplex virus type-1, the virus associated with cold sores.
In 12 patients with colorectal adenocarcinoma that had spread to the liver and proven resistant to first-line chemotherapy, the scientists tested increasing doses of NV1020 delivered via a single 10-minute arterial infusion. Treatment was followed by regional chemotherapy. Patients in the study generally experienced mild or moderate adverse events associated with the treatment, the researchers found, although self-limiting serious adverse events experienced by three patients were considered possibly or probably related to NV1020. These events comprised a temporary increase of gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase--a sign of liver disease--12 hours after treatment in a patient with a history of hepatitis, a case of gastroenteritis, and a case of mild leukocytosis considered due to a respiratory infection.
Gracemarie Bricalli | EurekAlert!
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