The Seneca Valley Virus is a potent cancer killer and can differentiate between normal and cancerous cells. The virus may be a potential treatment for some metastatic cancers, such as small-cell lung cancer.
Cancer-killing viruses have been shown in clinical trials to be promising therapies for localized cancer. But so far their success has been limited in metastatic cancers. This could be due to the viruses targeting normal cells as well as cancer cells or the viruses being inactivated by a patient's blood or immune system.
Paul Hallenbeck, Ph.D., of Neotropix in Malvern, Pa., and colleagues examined the cancer-killing potential of the newly discovered Seneca Valley Virus-001 in normal and tumor cell lines. They also tested the virus in human blood to assess whether it would be suitable for intravenous delivery. The researchers evaluated the safety and efficacy of the virus in mice with tumors derived from human small-cell lung cancer and childhood eye cancer cell lines.
The Seneca Valley Virus was more effective at killing the lung and eye cancer cell lines than the normal cells, and the virus was not inhibited in the blood. Among mice treated with the virus, there was a complete response in all the mice with lung cancer tumors and in the majority of those with eye cancer tumors.
"The data in this report suggest that [the Seneca Valley Virus] may overcome many of the challenges faced by traditional therapies and other [cancer-killing] viruses," the authors write.
This research was published October 30, 2007 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
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