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Evidence supports blocking immune response to enhance viral therapy against solid tumors
Date:3/13/2013

Following several years of study, investigators have found more evidence that viral therapy to treat solid tumors can be enhanced by blocking the body's natural immune response.

Oncolytic viruses have shown promise as anticancer agents, with variations of the herpes simplex virus (HSV) among the most commonly used. However, many studies have shown that the effectiveness of viral therapy to eradicate tumors has not been as successful with patients as it has been in the lab. These results have led researchers to examine the body's immune system response to determine what effect it may have toward decreasing the effectiveness of viral therapy.

A new study, published in the March 12, 2013 issue of Molecular Therapy and led by Timothy Cripe, MD, PhD, division chief of Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation at Nationwide Children's Hospital, is shedding additional light on how viral therapy combined with a suppressed immune response could be more effective against solid tumors.

Dr. Cripe and a team of investigators studied the effects of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a substance commonly released during an immune, or pro-inflammatory, response to a viral infection. VEGF is responsible for angiogenesis, new blood vessel growth near an injured or infected site.

VEGF is also important for tumor growth, raising the possibility that its response to virus infection might get in the way of viral therapy.

"We sought to determine if a pro-angiogenic response occurs during viral therapy for cancer, to what extent it may limit antitumor effectiveness, and if it could be counteracted by antiangiogenic therapy," explains Dr. Cripe, who is also a professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Their research demonstrates that an anti-VEGF antibody markedly enhances the anti-tumor effect of an oncolytic virus (oHSV) injected into a tumor. They also discovered that the an
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Contact: Mary Ellen Peacock
maryellen.peacock@nationwidechildrens.org
614-355-0492
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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