Adenovirus against cancer
Researchers at Queen Mary University of London, working under the guidance of Dr. Gunnel Hallden, in experiments on mice demonstrated the ability of flu-like virus particles to destroy pancreatic cancer cells without having a detrimental effect on surrounding healthy tissues.
According to statistics, in the UK, 9,800 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year. This disease is very aggressive and has the lowest survival rate among all types of cancer – less than 5% of patients survive for 5 years or more.
The reasons for poor survival include late diagnosis, as well as the rapid development of the tumor and its resistance to existing treatments. In order to avoid the development of drug resistance, experts suggest using modified viral particles harmless to healthy tissues to target tumor cells.
The authors used a unique characteristic of pancreatic cancer cells – the expression on the cell surface of specific molecules known as alpha-V/beta-6 integrins. They modified the adenovirus particles in such a way that an additional small protein is expressed on their surface that recognizes alpha-V/beta-6 molecules and binds to them.
After penetration into the cancer cell, viral particles replicate, producing many copies of themselves, after which the cell is destroyed and viral particles are released. These particles bind to the surrounding cells, and the cycle repeats again, which, eventually, should lead to the destruction of the tumor.
Experiments on three-dimensional tumor cell cultures and mice with implanted human pancreatic tumors have demonstrated the ability of therapeutic viruses to suppress tumor growth.
The concept of using modified viruses has already demonstrated promising results in experiments on models of various types of malignant tumors, including brain, head and neck cancer, as well as prostate cancer. The authors claim that the new virus is more specific and effective than earlier versions of therapeutic viruses. Moreover, it is able to improve the results of the use of antitumor chemotherapeutic drugs, traditionally used in clinical practice.
Currently, the researchers are looking for funding sources and plan to start conducting clinical trials of the approach they have developed within the next two years. They note that it will take about 5 more years to obtain the first confirmations of the safety and effectiveness of the new therapy.
Article by Y. K. Stella Man et al. The novel oncolytic adenoviral mutant Ad5-3delta-A20T retargeted to alpha-V/beta-6-integrins efficiently eliminates pancreatic cancer cells is published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.
Evgenia Ryabtseva, portal "Eternal Youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on the materials of Cardiff University: Researchers use flu-like virus to attack pancreatic cancer.