Another Promising Virus Cancer Killer

Vaccinia virus seeks and kills cancer tumors throughout the body

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Viruses are hot in the cancer community these days. Recent published reports have found that measles viruses and a cousin of rabies work to kill cancer. Now yet another one may revolutionize cancer therapy.

Researchers are working with an engineered virus that was used to produce the smallpox vaccine years ago. Injected directly into the blood of 23 cancer patients, this version of the vaccinia virus - named JX-594 - could change the landscape of cancer therapies.

"Viruses may become new cancer treatments."

Using viruses to battle cancer has been around for a while. The thing is, though, that they had to be injected directly into the tumors.

This new virus was successful on a systemic basis, delivered through an intravenous infusion.

In eight of the patients who received the highest doses of JX-954, the virus was growing in the tumors only. Healthy tissue was left alone.

While the virus didn't cure the cancers, tumor growth was prevented for a time in six patients.

These results were seen after a single infusion as the trial was designed to test safety of the viral therapy.

Researchers were particularly encouraged because the virus was effective in seeking out and attacking tumors that had spread throughout the patients' bodies.

Also, the virus was effective against an especially difficult cancer, mesothelioma.

Results from this trial have been published in the journal Nature.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 31, 2011
Last Updated:
September 4, 2011