Virus therapy extends the life of brain cancer patients

Virus therapy extends the life of brain cancer patients

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Manipulated virus can prolong the life of people with recurrent glioblastoma
The treatment of a so-called recurrent glioblastoma is usually extremely difficult. Researchers have now found that experimental viral treatment extends the lives of patients with this difficult-to-treat brain cancer. So far there have been very few treatment methods for this disease.

Scientists from the University of California and the Cleveland Clinic found that injecting a manipulated virus can extend the lives of people with brain cancer. This viral treatment could give patients with the most aggressive brain tumor a few additional months or even years. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Science Translational Medicine".

New treatment extends survival from 7.1 months to 13.6 months
For a so-called phase 1 study, researchers injected a manipulated virus into some patients with recurrent glioblastoma, the most common and most aggressive brain tumor. This viral treatment increased survival in 43 patients in the study. Usually, the patients were alive for around 7.1 months if they had not participated in this new therapy. The viral treatment increased the survival time to an average of 13.6 months, the doctors explain.

New treatment can kill cancer cells and activate the immune system against cancer
For the first time, clinical data show that this treatment can be used in combination with an antifungal to kill cancer cells and activate the immune system against them, the experts explain. At the same time, healthy cells are preserved, says the co-leader of the study, Dr. Timothy Cloughesy. The researcher is the director of the Neuro-Oncology Program at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Some patients lived without side effects for more than two years
This approach also has potential in other types of the disease, such as metastatic colorectal cancer and breast cancer, explains Dr. Cloughesy. Dr. Cloughesy is also a consultant for Tocagen, a biopharmaceutical company that developed the therapy and largely funded the study. Some patients who received the experimental treatment lived with few side effects for more than two years, the researchers report. Brain cancer is a deadly disease and there are very few treatment options. The survival time is usually only a few months, explains the co-author Dr. Michael Vogelbaum from the Brain Tumor Neuro-Oncology Center at the Cleveland Clinic.

Genetic changes transform Toca FC into anti-cancer drug Fluorouracil
So-called Toca 511 is infected with the new treatment. This then in turn infects the actively dividing cancer cells, the researchers say. It also delivers a gene called cytosine deaminase to cancer cells. This prepares the second step of the treatment. In the second phase, the patient then takes the antifungal Toca FC. The genetic changes triggered by Toca 511 cause Toca FC to be converted into the anti-cancer drug fluorouracil (5-FU), the authors explain. This leads to the targeted death of the infected cancer cells and the cells that help tumors hide from the immune system, explains Dr. Bird tree. Healthy cells remained intact.

Purpose of a phase 1 trial
The purpose of a so-called phase 1 study is to check the safety and tolerability of a therapy or medication. Three successful study phases are usually required for a drug to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration receives. (as)

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Video: New therapy uses virus to treat brain tumors (August 2022).