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 advanced malignant 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 »

Measles May Help Fight Mesothelioma

A new mesothelioma clinical trial being conducted at the Mayo Clinic uses an altered version of the measles virus to combat the deadly cancer. The potential of the measles virus to kill cancers like mesothelioma was noticed many years ago, before vaccination curtailed the spread of measles. In several cases, cancer patients who contracted natural measles experienced shrinkage of their tumors. Today, advanced molecular science has made it possible to insert a new gene into the measles virus that can further increase its specificity and potency against mesothelioma tumor cells. Because malignant pleural mesothelioma (the most common type) arises on the mesothelial membrane around the lungs, Mayo Clinic researchers administer the altered measles virus directly into the pleural space, between the lungs … Continue reading Measles May Help Fight Mesothelioma »

Common Cold Virus – Uncommon Mesothelioma Treatment

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are fighting malignant mesothelioma with an unexpected tool – the cold virus. The approach fits into a category of treatment known as immunotherapy, which aims to harness the body’s own immune system to find and attack cancer cells. In the current study, Penn Medicine mesothelioma researchers, led by Steven Albelda, MD, and Daniel Sterman, MD, of the Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Division, injected mesothelioma patients with a modified form of the adenovirus – a virus normally associated with the common cold. The virus had been altered to express high levels of an immune system stimulant called Interferon-a, a protein that can boost the body’s ability to fight off viral infection. Nine mesothelioma patients … Continue reading Common Cold Virus – Uncommon Mesothelioma Treatment »

New Treatments Offer Hope for Mesothelioma

A new published review of standard and investigational treatments for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) offers some hopeful news for mesothelioma patients. The article, published in Current Oncology Reports, analyzes an array of mesothelioma treatments, from new and existing chemotherapy drugs and new radiotherapy techniques to advances in immunotherapy and gene therapy. Chemotherapy The authors note that, although the chemotherapy combination of cisplatin and pemetrexed continues to be the preferred first-line treatment for mesothelioma, the newer combination of gemcitabine and cisplatin has also proven effective, especially in combination with the surgical procedure called extrapleural pneumonectomy and thoracic radiation. Other studies have also confirmed the value of the gemcitabine/cisplatin combination in Phase 2 clinical trials for inoperable mesothelioma. Radiation On the radiotherapy … Continue reading New Treatments Offer Hope for Mesothelioma »

Mesothelioma and Virotherapy

A recently published study* suggests that virotherapy may be a viable treatment option for mesothelioma, as well as for other cancers. Virotherapy is the use of biotechnology to convert viruses into cancer-fighting agents by reprogramming viruses to only attack cancerous cells An agent of change for patients with “no real treatment alternatives” “Normally, viruses replicate to increase their number, and by virtue of that process, healthy cells are killed,” explains David T. Curiel, MD, PhD, director of the Division of Human Gene Therapy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “Virotherapy is about engineering viruses so that they replicate only in tumor cells – and kill only tumor cells.” In order to engineer an effective virus, scientists must first understand … Continue reading Mesothelioma and Virotherapy »

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