Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Viral 'Magic Bullet' Targets Cancer Cells With Help Of New Compound

Date:
September 18, 2008
Source:
McGill University
Summary:
Researchers report a significant breakthrough in the use of viruses to target and destroy cancer cells, a field known as oncolytic virotherapy.

Researchers at McGill University and the affiliated Lady Davis Research Institute of the Jewish General Hospital – along with colleagues at the University of Ottawa and the Ottawa Health Research Institute (OHRI) –report a significant breakthrough in the use of viruses to target and destroy cancer cells, a field known as oncolytic virotherapy.

Their results were published in the September early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The research team, led by Dr. John Hiscott of McGill's Faculty of Medicine and the Lady Davis Institute, along with Dr. John C. Bell and colleagues at the University of Ottawa and OHRI, have discovered that a family of compounds called histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDIs) may be the missing link that turns oncolytic viruses into a potent new weapon against cancer. Their research program is supported by the Canadian Oncolytic Virus Consortium, which is funded by the National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC) and the Terry Fox Foundation.

"One of the greatest challenges in cancer therapy is to target and kill cancer cells that are resistant to conventional therapy," said Dr. Hiscott. "The strategy that we developed is to use a harmless, non-human virus that specifically enters, replicates and kills cancer cells, but not normal cells." However, Dr. Hiscott explained, many primary cancers have proven resistant to a pure virotherapy approach. "One way to overcome this obstacle is to treat the tumor with other molecules that augment the ability of these viruses to target and kill the cancer cells."

Dr. Nanh Nguyen and Dr. Hesham Abdelbary, senior researchers and lead authors in the Hiscott and Bell labs, focused on HDIs, which inhibit specific enzymes involved in modulating the structure of chromosomes in cancer cells. They tested the combination HDI/virotherapy approach in cell culture experiments in the lab, in animal models of cancer, and also in human tissues from breast, prostate and colon cancer immediately after excision from patients.

"Treatment with these compounds dramatically increases the susceptibility of these cancers to killing by the oncolytic virus," Dr. Hiscott said. "The combination dramatically and unexpectedly stimulates the ability of the viruses to target and kill cancer cells."

The researchers utilize a tiny, bullet-shaped insect rhabdovirus known as VSV, chosen specifically for its inability to infect normal human cells. "VSV has been studied by virologists for several decades, and its replication is well understood at the molecular level," Dr. Hiscott said. "It is not a human pathogen, so most individuals do not have antibodies directed against it, which means there is a window of opportunity to successfully treat patients before they mount an immune response."

Dr. Hiscott and his colleagues are enthusiastic that this new approach may lead to the rapid implementation of new experimental therapies for breast, prostate, colon and other primary cancers that are currently resistant to virotherapy.

"Virotherapy is potentially valuable by adding a new biotherapeutic approach to cancer treatment," he said. "Because human trials with similar viruses and with HDIs have already been approved, there is the possibility that the results of these studies might be applied rapidly. We might see human trials within a year or two. These experiments are vital to determine if this 'viral bullet' is actually a 'magic bullet' that hits the intended target."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

McGill University. "Viral 'Magic Bullet' Targets Cancer Cells With Help Of New Compound." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080916143958.htm>.
McGill University. (2008, September 18). Viral 'Magic Bullet' Targets Cancer Cells With Help Of New Compound. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080916143958.htm
McGill University. "Viral 'Magic Bullet' Targets Cancer Cells With Help Of New Compound." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080916143958.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins