A genetically modified virus to treat cancer: a new therapy whose first trials on humans are beginning.
Using a virus to fight cancer. The logic may seem strange and yet it promises great advances in the care of the disease.
And yet the American research organization City of Hope and the Australian company Imugene have opted for research on this new therapy, which brings hope on several levels.
A modified smallpox virus
A genetically modified virus has been developed to target only cancer cells to attack them while sparing healthy cells, so that the latter can survive.
It is a drug candidate, Vaxinia, CF33-hNIS, which was developed from the smallpox virus, as reported by Science and Life.
It works by infecting a cell and then causing it to burst. But by bursting, the cell in turn disperses the virus which thus infects other cancerous and only cancerous cells.
Result, in addition to destroying the malignant cells, it allows to remain in the body and if a new cancerous cell appears, the destruction will be the same.
So we wouldn’t even be talking about remission or cure, but about eradicating cancer.
Conclusive animal trials, now the turn of humans
Animal trials have been very conclusive. Vaxinia has been shown to shrink breast, lung, colon and pancreatic tumors in several different species, as stated in the scientific paper, published in April.
“The oncolytic virus has been shown to shrink cancerous tumors of the colon, lung, breast, ovary and pancreas in preclinical laboratory and animal models,” as City of Hope states.
The first human patient received a dose a few days ago for a clinical trial.
City of Hope said on May 18, “The first patient has received one dose in a Phase 1 clinical trial evaluating the safety of the novel cancer-killing virus CF33-hNIS Vaxinia when used in people with advanced solid tumours.”
They will be a hundred to take part in this extraordinary clinical trial.
“The study aims to enroll 100 patients at approximately 10 trial sites in the United States and Australia.”
Initially, the injected dose will be low to study its impact on the body, but if everything is well assimilated, patients can receive stronger ones.
The trial is expected to last 24 months. The results of this research are therefore not expected for years, but they bring hope for ending cancer.