Genetically-modified virus to kill cancer trialed for the first time

Biotech company Imugene and the City of Hope center have created a new genetically-modified oncolytic virus to kill cancer cells.

@AdamHuntTT
Published Tue, May 24 2022 7:07 AM CDT   |   Updated Mon, Jun 13 2022 10:50 PM CDT

The cancer-killing virus has been used in a human patient for the first time in a new clinical trial.

Genetically-modified virus to kill cancer trialed for the first time 01 | TweakTown.com

The experimental virus is called CF33-hNIS, otherwise known as Vaxinia, and was developed by Australian biotech-company Imugene and the City of Hope cancer care and research center in Los Angeles. The drug candidate is what's known as an oncolytic virus, meaning a virus that selectively infects and destroys only cancer cells.

Previous research conducted with animals has shown the potential for the drug also to spur the immune system to become more proficient in destroying cancer cells. If clinical trials go well and the drug is safe for use, more trials involving combinations with currently used cancer therapies such as pembrolizumab will be carried out.

"Our previous research demonstrated that oncolytic viruses can stimulate the immune system to respond to and kill cancer, as well as stimulate the immune system to be more responsive to other immunotherapies," said City of Hope oncologist and principal investigator Daneng Li.

"Interestingly, the same characteristics that eventually make cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy or radiation treatment actually enhance the success of oncolytic viruses, such as CF33-hNIS. We are hoping to harness the promise of viralogy and immunotherapy for the treatment of a wide variety of deadly cancers," said Yuman Fong, M.D., the Sangiacomo Family Chair in Surgical Oncology at City of Hope and the key developer of the genetically modified virus, in a recent press release.

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Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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