Viral Gene Therapy Eliminates Prostate Cancer

Viral Gene Therapy Eliminates Prostate Cancer
A new therapy revealed synergism between an engineered "cancer terminator virus" and an experimental drug that aims to destroy primary and metastatic prostate cancer, according to researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). The average survival for those suffering with metastatic, hormone-refractory prostate cancer, despite the available treatments, is no longer than two or three years. Due to the urgent necessity of other effective therapies, researchers at the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM) were driven to develop a unique approach that utilizes tiny gas bubbles to directly deliver a viral gene therapy combined with an investigational drug that targets a gene responsible for cancer growth. This work was published in Oncotarget and utilizes a new "cancer terminator virus" (CTV), which is only replicated in cancer cells and allows the delivery of the toxic cytokine gene mda-7/IL-24 right into the tumor. The investigators added BI-97D6, an experimental drug that targets MCL-1 and others from the Bcl-2 gene family that provide cancer cells with resistance to therapeutic agents, promoting prostate cancer cell death without harming healthy prostate epithelial cells. This approach was confirmed through pre-clinical experiments on mice models of prostate cancer. The therapy killed cells at the primary tumor si
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Isaura Santos graduated with a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and a MA in Communication, Culture and Information Technologies from University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL). Her professional interests include science communication, public awareness of science and communication of science through entertainment.

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