Nav: Home

Virus-based therapy targets a pediatric eye cancer

January 23, 2019

A cancer-killing, virus-based therapy showed promising effects against retinoblastoma - a tumor of the retina that affects mainly children - in mouse models and a pilot clinical trial. Although further work is needed, the therapy lays the groundwork for new treatment options for the cancer, which is currently treated with disfiguring surgery. Researchers estimate that retinoblastoma causes 8,000 cases each year, a figure that represents 11% of all cancers in children under the age of one. Most cases result from inactivation of the gene RB1, which normally plays a critical role as a tumor suppressor. Chemotherapy is the standard-of-care for retinoblastoma, but intensive rounds of such drugs can damage the retina and cause long-term vision problems. In some cases, surgery is needed to remove the eye entirely - an invasive procedure called enucleation that results in loss of vision. Here, Guillem Pascual-Pasto and colleagues investigated an alternative treatment for retinoblastoma named VCN-01, which harnesses a virus that infects and kills cancer cells harboring a dysfunctional RB1 pathway. The treatment was safe in juvenile rabbit models, and injections of the virus into the eyes of mice with retinoblastoma (equivalent to a feasible dosage for human children) curtailed tumor growth, prevented metastasis, and extended the time to enucleation compared to chemotherapy. Importantly, the authors administered VCN-01 to two pediatric patients with retinoblastoma and observed the virus successfully replicated in tumor cells and did not cause systemic inflammation. Taken together, the findings warrant further development of VCN-01 as a potential treatment for patients with retinoblastoma and RB1 inactivation, Pascual-Pasto et al. say.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Cancer Articles:

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.
Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.
Oncotarget: Cancer pioneer employs physics to approach cancer in last research article
In the cover article of Tuesday's issue of Oncotarget, James Frost, MD, PhD, Kenneth Pienta, MD, and the late Donald Coffey, Ph.D., use a theory of physical and biophysical symmetry to derive a new conceptualization of cancer.
Health indicators for newborns of breast cancer survivors may vary by cancer type
In a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center analyzed health indicators for children born to young breast cancer survivors in North Carolina.
Few women with history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer take a recommended genetic test
More than 80 percent of women living with a history of breast or ovarian cancer at high-risk of having a gene mutation have never taken the test that can detect it.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Processing The Pandemic
Between the pandemic and America's reckoning with racism and police brutality, many of us are anxious, angry, and depressed. This hour, TED Fellow and writer Laurel Braitman helps us process it all.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#568 Poker Face Psychology
Anyone who's seen pop culture depictions of poker might think statistics and math is the only way to get ahead. But no, there's psychology too. Author Maria Konnikova took her Ph.D. in psychology to the poker table, and turned out to be good. So good, she went pro in poker, and learned all about her own biases on the way. We're talking about her new book "The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win".
Now Playing: Radiolab

Invisible Allies
As scientists have been scrambling to find new and better ways to treat covid-19, they've come across some unexpected allies. Invisible and primordial, these protectors have been with us all along. And they just might help us to better weather this viral storm. To kick things off, we travel through time from a homeless shelter to a military hospital, pondering the pandemic-fighting power of the sun. And then, we dive deep into the periodic table to look at how a simple element might actually be a microbe's biggest foe. This episode was reported by Simon Adler and Molly Webster, and produced by Annie McEwen and Pat Walters. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.