Virus-chemo combination therapy shows promise in breast cancer models

August 24, 2016

Researchers in Dr. John Bell’s group and Dr. Jean-Simon Diallo’s group have discovered that a cancer-fighting virus called Maraba-MG1, together with a common chemotherapy called paclitaxel, can slow the growth of breast cancer in animal models and in some cases, even eliminate it. Maraba-MG1 is currently being tested in a world-first clinical trial at The Ottawa Hospital, while paclitaxel is commonly used to treat breast cancer that is resistant to hormonal therapies. Using several different mouse models, the researchers show that this combination therapy works synergistically to increase cancer cell death without increasing side effects. Previous research suggests that this synergistic effect may occur because paclitaxel compromises the anti-viral defenses of cancer cells. Future clinical trials may assess this combination therapy. See Breast Cancer Research for details.

Authors: Marie-Claude Bourgeois-Daigneault, Lauren Elizabeth St-Germain, Dominic Guy Roy, Adrian Pelin, Amelia Sadie Aitken, Rozanne Arulanandam, Theresa Falls, Vanessa Garcia, Jean-Simon Diallo, John Cameron Bell.

Funders: Terry Fox Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, the Canadian Institute for Health Research, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.

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