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Potential viral therapy weapon for difficult cancers is safe and effective in study
Date:4/22/2008

CINCINNATI Combining a herpes virus genetically altered to express a drug-enhancing enzyme with a chemotherapy drug effectively and safely reduced the size of highly malignant human sarcoma grafted into mice. This new finding may add to the growing arsenal of so called oncolytic viruses under development as novel cancer treatments, especially for difficult, inoperable tumors, according to a research led by Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Medical Center and published April 24 in Molecular Therapy.

Our study shows the chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide (CPA) enhances the anti-tumor effectiveness of the oncolytic virus rRp450 in mice carrying aggressive human sarcoma, resulting in significant tumor shrinkage, said Timothy P. Cripe, M.D., Ph.D., a physician and researcher at Cincinnati Childrens and the studys corresponding author. Just as important is the fact that the combination of rRp450 and CPA appears to be well tolerated, because non-cancer bearing mice treated with the therapy survive long term. It will take some time to continue developing this approach before its potential to be tested in clinical trials, but our results are encouraging and warrant further study.

New treatment options are desperately needed for sarcomas, which occur in soft and connective tissues like bone, cartilage, muscle and blood vessels. In most sarcomas that metastasize or spread to other parts of the body less than 30 percent of the patients are curable, Dr. Cripe said. Chemotherapy combined with surgery and radiation has advanced the treatment of these cancers, but these therapies have limitations. In childhood sarcomas that respond well to chemotherapy but metastasize, less than half of the children who undergo intense, high-dose therapies survive five years from diagnosis. Another challenge is adult sarcomas, which are generally resistant to chemotherapy and radiation.

Dr. Cripes research team injected sarcoma tumors in mice with rRp450, in which a
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Contact: Nick Miller
513-803-6035
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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