Cancer Drug Fights Better Than Mike Tyson

Oncolytic virus 345ENVE more effective against brain cancer than previously expected

(RxWiki News) Anything that works better than advertised is a pleasant surprise. For scientists, a brain cancer treatment is battling cancer better than expected.

Researchers from the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) discovered that a virus engineered into a treatment used for glioblastoma brain cancer was more effective than expected in pre-clinical trial testing.

Glioblastoma is the deadliest form of brain cancer with an average survival rate of just 15 months after diagnosis. Gliobastoma is the most malignant type of glioma tumor, tumors that affect the glial cells. Glial cells are found in the brain around neurons and function to protect them as well as supply oxygen and nutrition to the neurons.

"Ask your oncologist about new therapies."

The oncolytic virus, which is a cancer fighting virus, is called 34.5ENVE. This cancer fighting virus has been genetically modified and designed to kill malignant tumors. 34.5ENVE was modified to include a gene, Vstat120, to prevent blood vessel growth. 

34.5ENVE was tested in mouse models of human brain cancer and was shown be effective in killing tumors and limiting tumor growth in four different models of the glioblastoma tumor. 34.5ENVE improved survival rates by 50 percent than previous incarnations of the drug.

Scientists gradually refine cancer fighting drugs and 34.5ENVE is the fourth generation of this virus. For eight mice who had tumors inside the cranium, six survived longer than 80 days and were tumor free using the fourth generation of 34.5ENVE. The median age for untreated mice was 20 days. The third generation of 34.5ENVE had mice survive for 53 days.

For scientists, 34.5ENVE's effectiveness can lead to possible treatments of other cancers. 34.5ENVE targets the protein nestin. Nestin is found during the development of nerve cells. Nestin is also found in gliobastoma as well as other malignant tumors including gastrointestinal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer.

According to Dr. Balveen Kaur, associate professor of neurological surgery, and a member of the OSUCCC – James, these nestin-targeted cancer fighting viruses can be used in many different types of cancer. For Dr. Kaur, the next step is to determine the safety of 34.5ENVE for use in treating humans.

The study was published online in Molecular Therapy.

Review Date: 
October 28, 2011