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Taking the Trojan horse to the next level: using fruit fly cells to deliver viral therapies for cancer

December 8, 2015

Oncolytic viruses destroy cancer cells without harming normal cells, but once an immune response develops against a given virus, it can become more difficult for subsequent doses of virus to get through the blood stream and into tumours. One possible solution developed by Dr. John Bell’s group involves using fruit fly cells as “Trojan horses” to carry oncolytic viruses through the blood and into tumours. A recent study led by PhD student Dominic Roy shows that the strategy works well in mouse models of cancer. The infected insect cells can travel through the blood without significantly stimulating the immune system, and substantially reduce the tumour burden. Importantly, the system allows for multiple oncolytic viruses and gene therapies to be delivered at the same time. See the Journal of Controlled Release for details.

Authors: D.G. Roy, A.T. Power, M.C. Bourgeois-Daigneault T. Falls, Ferreira, A. Sterna, C. Tanese de Souza, J.A. McCart, D.F. Stojdl, B.D. Lichty, H. Atkins, R.C. Auer, J.C. Bell, F. Le Boeuf.

Funders: Terry Fox Research Institute, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

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