Injected virus targets tumours

A NOVEL cancer therapy is on the horizon following the first trial of an intravenous genetically modified virus that infects and destroys tumours, researchers say.

The phase I trial proved that a tumour-targeting virus injected into the bloodstream could find cancer wherever it had spread without harming healthy tissue.

Six out of eight patients receiving the highest doses of therapy – in a trial involving 23 patients –experienced shrinking or arrested growth of metastatic tumours without evidence of viral replication in normal tissue.

The most common side-effect recorded was mild to moderate flu-like symptoms that lasted less than a day.

“We are very excited because this is the first time in medical history that a viral therapy has been shown to consistently and selectively replicate in cancer tissue after intravenous infusion in humans,” said co-investigator
Professor John Bell from Ottawa Hospital