Sanford Health recently launched a clinical trial using a genetically engineered virus that aims to destroy therapy-resistant tumors.
The Phase I immunotherapy trial is for those ages 18 and older with metastatic solid tumors that have not responded to standard treatments. The treatment injects a cancer-destroying virus into the tumor. The virus is engineered to grow in cancer cells, destroy these tumors and then spread to other cancer sites. During this process, it recruits the immune system to the area with the goal of triggering an immune response.
The virus, commonly known as VSV, can infect cattle, but it rarely causes serious infections in humans.
“Oncolytic viruses are the next wave of promising cancer immunotherapy treatments,” said Steven Powell, M.D., a medical oncologist with the Sanford Cancer Center, who collaborated with Vyriad on the development of this clinical trial. “We are very excited about using VSV as researchers have seen promising results using other similar viruses, such as the polio virus, in early clinical trials.”
The engineered virus is genetically altered by adding two genes. The first gene is a human interferon beta gene, which is a natural anti-viral protein. This protects the normal, healthy cells from being infected, while still allowing the virus to work against cancer cells.
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