Researchers find a way to supercharge cancer-fighting viruses

June 14, 2016

A research team led by Drs. Jean-Simon Diallo, Christopher Boddy and Jeffrey Smith has created a new molecule that could help cancer-fighting viruses be more effective against a wider variety of tumours. Engineered viruses that destroy cancer cells while leaving the surrounding tissues unharmed have been shown to be safe for humans, but their ability to shrink tumours varies greatly. About two thirds of tumours reduce their capacity to defend against viruses, but the rest maintain this ability. The research team found a compound that can disrupt these defenses, increasing virus replication in resistant cancer cells up to 1,000-fold. In animal models, the combination of a virus called VSVΔ51 with the small molecule they developed significantly delayed tumour progression and improved survival compared to the virus alone. The results are published in Scientific Reports.

Authors: Mark H. Dornan, Ramya Krishnan, Andrew M. Macklin, Mohammed Selman, Nader El Sayes, Hwan Hee Son, Colin Davis, Andrew Chen, Kerkeslin Keillor, Penny Le, Christina Moi, Paula Ou2, Christophe Pardin, Carlos R. Canez, Fabrice Le Boeuf, John C. Bell, Jeffrey C. Smith, Jean-Simon Diallo & Christopher N. Boddy.

Funders: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Collaborative Research Project Grant, Terry Fox Research Institute, The Lotte & John Hecht Memorial Foundation, Innovation Grant of the Canadian Cancer Society

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