August 3, 2018 – Brain Cancer Viral Treatment


Anchor lead: Can a polio virus help treat brain cancer? Elizabeth Tracey reports

The polio virus infects nerves. That fact was exploited in a recent study looking at the ability of a modified polio virus to treat advanced brain cancers, with about one-fifth of study subjects still alive many months after treatment. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, explains.

Nelson: The cleverness of this particular virus is they try to exploit one of the vaccine polio viruses that binds to a specific target that’s on many cancer cells, including these brain cancer cells. The idea is that this new engineered virus would enter and destroy the brain tumor cells, leaving the normal cells alone. They were able to find a dose. Some 21% were still alive at two to three years out, and many of those folks seemed to be alive and doing well even many months afterwards.  :31

Nelson notes that further studies will no doubt attempt to use the strategy earlier in the disease’s course as well as optimize dosing and intervals, and identify factors related to responders. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.