Virus could help treat advanced cancers

University of Leeds | June 2018 | Virus could help treat advanced cancers

Scientists at the University of Leeds have conducted a small-scale clinical trial with a specifically-engineered virus, Pexa-Vec virus, which has been derived from the Vaccinia family of viruses and modified to target cancer cells.  Eight patients (three with skin cancer or melanoma and five with bowel cancer which had spread to the liver) received the virus intravenously.  A fortnight after receiving the virus, the patients’ tumours were surgically removed. Analysis of the cancerous tissue showed that the virus had been able to reach the site of the tumours and infiltrate the cancer cells. There were also signs that the cancer cells were beginning to die.

Dr Adel Samson from the Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology, who is one of the investigators, said: “The results so far are very promising. They show the virus was very effective in being able to switch on the body’s immune system, allowing a patient’s own defence systems to target the cancer.

Pexa-Vec is currently being tested in a larger phase-three clinical trial to determine whether the virus is a more effective treatment than giving the conventional drug therapy.
(Source: University of Leeds)

The full news item is available from the University of Leeds 


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