Features Partner Sites Information LinkXpress
Sign In
Demo Company

Oncolytic Viruses Shown to Target and Kill Pancreatic Cancer Stem Cells

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 25 May 2011
Print article
Oncolytic viruses quickly infect and kill cancer stem cells, which may provide a treatment for tumors that are resistant to conventional chemotherapy and radiation, particularly pancreatic cancer, according to new research. The findings are particularly significant since pancreatic cancer has a poor prognosis and is difficult to detect and treat at early stages.

Investigators led by Joyce Wong, MD, a surgical researcher with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York, NY, USA), examined whether they could use oncolytic viruses, which are naturally occurring viruses that have been genetically engineered to be safe and express tracking genes, as a possible therapy against pancreatic cancer stem cells. These stem cells are thought to cause disease recurrence and metastasis, even after therapy, and oncolytic viruses may offer a new treatment strategy.

"What we learned is that oncolytic viruses have been engineered to selectively target cancer cells and have a low toxicity profile in animal studies," said Dr. Wong. "Targeting the cancer stem cell may enhance our ability to eradicate tumors and prevent future recurrence of disease."

While much research has been performed on isolating the cancer stem cell from various hematologic cancers, this research was based on the presence or absence of specific cell surface markers. Numerous mechanisms of how these cancer stem cells resist chemotherapy and radiation have also been examined. However, up to now, there has not been any research assessing whether genetically modified viruses can target and kill pancreatic cancer stem cells.

Investigators tried to determine whether the viruses containing a marker gene that expresses green fluorescent protein could infect pancreatic cancer stem cells and ultimately kill the cancer stem cell. Their findings were promising and validated that viral activity was correlated with green fluorescent protein expression.

Dr. Wong added that future studies are needed to determine whether oncolytic virus administration in vivo will help eradicate tumors and prevent future disease recurrence, and that while these initial findings are encouraging, further study is necessary to see whether oncolytic viruses will be clinically beneficial as a therapy.

Dr. Wong presented the study's findings at Digestive Disease Week 2011 (DDW) May 9, 2011, in Chicago (IL, USA). DDW is the largest international gathering of physicians, researchers, and academics in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy, and gastrointestinal surgery.

Related Links:

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Print article



view channel
Image: Cryoelectron micrograph reconstruction of the Chikungunya virus (Photo courtesy of the Washington University School of Medicine).

Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies Protect Mice from Alphavirus Infection

While screening a panel of mouse and human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) that had been raised against Chikungunya virus, researchers identified several with inhibitory activity against multiple other arthritogenic... Read more

Lab Technologies

view channel
Image: The new ambr 15 fermentation micro-bioreactor system was designed to enhance microbial strain screening applications (Photo courtesy of Sartorius Stedim Biotech).

New Bioreactor System Streamlines Strain Screening and Culture

Biotechnology laboratories working with bacterial cultures will benefit from a new automated micro bioreactor system that was designed to enhance microbial strain screening processes. The Sartorius... Read more


view channel

Purchase of Biopharmaceutical Company Will Boost Development of Nitroxyl-Based Cardiovascular Disease Drugs

A major international biopharmaceutical company has announced the acquisition of a private biotech company that specializes in the development of drugs for treatment of cardiovascular disease. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (New York, NY, USA) has initiated the process to buy Cardioxyl Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Chapel Hill, NC, USA).... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2015 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.