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UNM Cancer Center selected for national clinical trial
Date:5/10/2013

r. For men with low risk cancer, therapies such as surgery, radiation, and watchful waiting, are still the best choices.

But this novel treatment may help men with more aggressive prostate cancer who need to consider the possibility of the cancer coming back. This treatment may help them decrease the odds of the cancer returning at a later time in their lives.

Gene therapy provided researchers with the background for this clinical trial. The injection of the engineered virus combined with valacyclovir and standard of care radiation therapy causes complex interactions within the body resulting in essentially a tumor-specific vaccine. These interactions kill cancer cells and build up antibodies.

The injected vaccine is an engineered cold-virus that carries the genetic material into the prostate needed to kill and stimulate an immune response against the cancer cells. Dr. Schroeder calls the engineered virus a delivery device. "The idea is to stimulate an immune response to the cancer. By using the body's immune response to viruses we incidentally create an immune response to the cancer." Valacyclovir only works on the cells that are infected with the virus, which was injected directly into the prostate. So, this treatment involves two steps: introducing genetic material into the cancerous cells, which kills the cells; and ramping up the immune system so it can detect future cancerous cells in other parts of the body.

Dr. Schroeder says that the treatment is not likely to increase or worsen the degree of any side effects. Men may experience typical side effects from radiation, or hormone therapy, but the treatment itself has minimal side effects. The men may get fevers and chills for twelve to twenty-four hours following the injection. The use of hormone therapy is not required on the study, but can be used at the treating physician's discretion.

Researchers have already tested and completed phases one and two of the study.
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Contact: Michele Sequeira
MSequeira@salud.unm.edu
505-925-0486
University of New Mexico Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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