Rabies to the Rescue

Vesicular stomatitis virus attacks sarcomas

(RxWiki News) A virus that's in the rabies family holds promise in fighting a rare but lethal form of cancer found in children and young adults. Yale University researchers are working with this virus as a potential treatment.

New research has discovered that the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) seeks out, attacks and destroys soft tissue sarcomas. Previous animal studies found VSV works in a similar fashion against brain cancer tumors.

"A rabies-like virus may be used to treat soft tissue sarcomas."

Soft tissue sarcomas are cancers of the connective tissues. Muscles, tendons, fat, blood vessels, and nerves are some of the areas this cancer can appear.

While sarcomas are relatively rare, they make up 15 percent of childhood cancers, and about a third of patients don't live five years after diagnosis.

For this study, investigators used both VSV and an enhanced version of the virus (VSV-rp30a) to target and kill 13 different sarcomas. Both viruses worked in the mouse models.

Researchers also looked at VSV-rp30a as a means of stopping tumor growth. They reported that one injection of the virus halted  growth of the tumors which usually grew 11-fold.

Findings from this study are reported in the Journal of Virology.

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Review Date: 
August 31, 2011