Mayo Researchers Fight Mesothelioma with Measles Virus

The same virus that can make unvaccinated children come down with spots and fevers may provide the basis for a powerful new weapon against the intractable cancer, malignant pleural mesothelioma. New research being conducted at the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic suggests that a strain of the measles virus called MV-Edm (the Edmonston strain) has the unique ability to not only target and kill lab-grown malignant mesothelioma cells, but to also spare normal cells, reducing the risk of treatment-related side effects. How MV-Edm Targets Mesothelioma Cells The ability of a therapy to selectively target cancer cells is the hallmark of a promising mesothelioma treatment. Current therapies, including the gold standard chemotherapy combination of pemetrexed and cisplatin, can cause … Continue reading Mayo Researchers Fight Mesothelioma with Measles Virus »

Altered Viruses May Help Boost Immunotherapy for Malignant Mesothelioma

Viruses may soon be playing a bigger role in the fight against malignant mesothelioma and other thoracic cancers. A pair of biologists from Minnesota say there is evidence that, in addition to killing mesothelioma cells directly, specific kinds of altered viruses might help make mesothelioma immunotherapy treatment more effective. How Does Immunotherapy Work? Like many other types of cancer, mesothelioma tumors are able to grow unchecked in part by “hiding” from the immune system. Immunotherapy relies on a variety of different substances that stimulate the immune system and allow it to recognize enemies such as mesothelioma cells. Immunotherapy is considered one of the most important and promising methods for fighting many types of cancer, including pleural mesothelioma. In some cases, immunotherapy … Continue reading Altered Viruses May Help Boost Immunotherapy for Malignant Mesothelioma »

Mesothelioma Treatment News: Novel Immunotherapy Drug Featured at International Symposium

A promising immunotherapy drug made from a deactivated cold virus has cleared another hurdle on its way to becoming a viable new treatment for malignant mesothelioma. Scientists with the Norway-based company that makes ONCOS-102 presented their most recent mesothelioma research data to colleagues at a symposium hosted by the International Society of Stem Cell Research and the European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy in October. These data all appear to point to the fact that ONCOS-102 may offer a way to improve mesothelioma survival without making patients sicker. A New Approach to Mesothelioma Cancer ONCOS-102 is made from an altered human adenovirus, a class of viruses that cause most human respiratory illnesses. It is specially made to seek out and … Continue reading Mesothelioma Treatment News: Novel Immunotherapy Drug Featured at International Symposium »

Could Smallpox Vaccine Help Wipe Out Mesothelioma, Too?

There is new evidence that the active component in the vaccine that eradicated smallpox might one day be used to help do the same for malignant mesothelioma, a rare but universally lethal cancer Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute are using the vaccinia virus to help jumpstart the immune systems of mice to attack their own mesothelioma tumors. Sick mice given the treatment lived longer and developed stronger immune systems, suggesting that the method might enhance any new mesothelioma vaccine and give hope to thousands of people with few treatment options. Breaking Down Mesothelioma’s Defenses Malignant mesothelioma in all its forms is the one of the rarest and most difficult cancers to treat. In part, this is because mesothelioma cells, like many … Continue reading Could Smallpox Vaccine Help Wipe Out Mesothelioma, Too? »

Emerging Therapies Target Mesothelioma in New Ways

Targeted therapies may be the future of mesothelioma treatment. That word comes from a team of some of the world’s top mesothelioma researchers at the University of Hawaii and New York University. The group has just published a review detailing what is known about how mesothelioma develops – also called “pathogenesis” – and how that growing knowledge may help scientists develop more effective treatments. “Novel treatments are needed, as current treatment modalities may improve the quality of life, but have shown modest effects in improving overall survival,” writes Dr. Michele Carbone, corresponding author on the review and a top name in mesothelioma research. Dr. Harvey Pass, chief of the division of thoracic surgery at New York University’s Langone Medical Center … Continue reading Emerging Therapies Target Mesothelioma in New Ways »

Could a Virus-Delivered Gene Slow Mesothelioma Growth?

Researchers in Japan are enrolling mesothelioma patients into a trial to test whether blocking a growth signaling pathway inside mesothelioma cells could slow down this aggressive cancer or even stop its progression. The hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/c-Met signal pathway is highly active in mesothelioma and many other types of cancer cells, telling them to grow and replicate quickly. In the lab, scientists have shown that the NK4 gene, which shares a molecular structure similar to HGF, can interrupt this signaling pathway and keep cancer cells from growing out of control. In a new study launched this summer by researchers at several Japanese universities, scientists will be testing a method of delivering NK4 to the site of mesothelioma tumors by administering a virus designed … Continue reading Could a Virus-Delivered Gene Slow Mesothelioma Growth? »

Ape Virus Shrinks Mesothelioma Tumors in Lab

A virus that causes leukemia in gibbon apes may have the power to help fight malignant mesothelioma in people. Gibbon ape leukemia virus (GALV) has been tested for years as a viral vector, a carrier of therapeutic genetic information, in the treatment of various human illnesses, including cancer. A new study in Japan compared GALV with a leukemia virus derived from mice to see which carrier communicated most efficiently with mesothelioma cells.  While both types of viruses replicated in most of the mesothelioma cell lines tested, the mouse-derived virus was not effective in a mesothelioma cell line called ACC-MESO-1. In this cell line, only the GALV spread efficiently both in culture and in mice that had been given human mesothelioma … Continue reading Ape Virus Shrinks Mesothelioma Tumors in Lab »

Mesothelioma Chemotherapy Could Get a Boost from Altered Virus

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An altered form of a virus that typically causes respiratory illness may help boost the effectiveness of chemotherapy for mesothelioma. In a study published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, researchers found that deleting a gene from adenoviruses made the drugs pemetrexed and cisplatin more cytotoxic to mesothelioma cells in the lab. In its unaltered state, the adenovirus is the virus most closely associated with respiratory problems, ranging from the common cold to pneumonia, croup and bronchitis.  It can also cause gastroenteritis, cystitis, and conjunctivitis. However, when it is altered in the lab by removing a particular gene, it can become a powerful ally in the fight against hard-to-treat cancers like mesothelioma. In the latest study, researchers first deleted the E1B-55kD … Continue reading Mesothelioma Chemotherapy Could Get a Boost from Altered Virus »

Treatment Uses Herpes Virus to Shrink Mesothelioma Tumors

Herpes Virus Cell Structure

Researchers at a hospital in Sheffield, England are testing a potential new mesothelioma treatment based on the same virus that causes herpes.  The small-scale trial is the first in the world to test the modified herpes simplex virus, HSV1716, in human mesothelioma patients. HSV1716 has been genetically engineered to infect and kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells. In laboratory studies on mesothelioma and some other cancers, it has been shown to be effective at shrinking tumors while causing limited toxicity. Just as significantly, HSV1716 increased survival rates among mice with various human cancers.  The Phase I/II trial at Sheffield Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre is the next stage in development of HSV1716 as a viable mesothelioma treatment. The goal of … Continue reading Treatment Uses Herpes Virus to Shrink Mesothelioma Tumors »

Chicken Virus Key to Experimental Mesothelioma Treatment

An experimental treatment using a modified bird virus may hold promise for people with advancedmalignant mesothelioma. Fowlpox is a viral infection that primarily affects chickens and turkeys. It is caused by an avipoxvirus from the Poxviridae family.  Recently, some of the world’s top mesothelioma researchers at the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii used an altered form of the Fowlpox virus to successfully stimulate an anti-tumor immune response in mice with mesothelioma cancer. The treatment focused on a protein called survivin which is overexpressed by most human cancers, including mesothelioma, but rarely found in healthy tissues. In an effort to jump-start the immune systems of lab mice into targeting and attacking survivin-producing mesothelioma cells, the … Continue reading Chicken Virus Key to Experimental Mesothelioma Treatment »

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