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Cancer-Killing Viruses and Novel Approaches to Cancer Treatment

Posted Oct 28 2008 9:57pm

More good research at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in LA. Oncolytic viruses that could be harnessed in cancer vaccines are receiving attention, including “smart search-and-destroy tumor busters that will leave normal cells alone” (AACR’s words; claims not evaluated by the FDA).

Study—Targeted Release of Oncolytic Measles Virus By Blood Outgrowth Endothelial Cells in situ Inhibits Orthotopic Gliomas (Abstract 4185)

This is interesting scientific study that could help shape the second generation of cancer vaccines. German researchers at the University Children’s Hospital in Ulm have hidden measles virus inside artificially generated blood cells, providing a way to avoid detecting by the immune system.

This early study in mice, demonstrates the possibility that a virus can destroy glioma brain cancer by getting inside the tumor cells and replicating—destroying the cancer from the inside out. The researchers note that this approach has been tested in clinical trials, with only limited effectiveness.

“In an immune-competent patient, the immune system will fight the virus, and most adults are immune against measles since they have been vaccinated against the disease in childhood or have had measles,” said Christian Beltinger, M.D., an associate professor at the University Children’s Hospital in Ulm. “Although cancer patients are immune-compromised by their disease or because of therapy, they still may mount a sufficient attack against vaccine measles virus.”

Study—Δ-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol Inhibits Growth and Metastasis of Lung Cancer (Abstract 4749)

This study will not doubt be mis-represented on websites in no time. So, straight from the source, “The active ingredient in marijuana cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread, say researchers at Harvard University who tested the chemical in both lab and mouse studies.”

The compound, Δ-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), inhibits EGF-induced growth and migration in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expressing non-small cell lung cancer cell lines. Lung cancers that over-express EGFR are usually highly aggressive and resistant to chemotherapy.

“The beauty of this study is that we are showing that a substance of abuse, if used prudently, may offer a new road to therapy against lung cancer,” said Anju Preet, Ph.D., a researcher in the Division of Experimental Medicine, Harvard University.
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