The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Feb 11, 2013
 

Genetically engineered virus kills cancer: Study

 
 

PARIS (AFP) - A genetically-engineered virus tested in 30 terminally-ill liver cancer patients significantly prolonged their lives, killing tumours and inhibiting the growth of new ones, scientists reported on Sunday.

Sixteen patients given a high dose of the therapy survived for 14.1 months on average, compared to 6.7 months for the 14 who got the low dose.

"For the first time in medical history we have shown that a genetically-engineered virus can improve survival of cancer patients," study co-author David Kirn told AFP. The four-week trial with the vaccine Pexa-Vec or JX-594, reported in the journal Nature Medicine, may hold promise for the treatment of advanced solid tumours.

"Despite advances in cancer treatment over the past 30 years with chemotherapy and biologics, the majority of solid tumours remain incurable once they are metastatic (have spread to other organs)," the authors wrote. There was a need for the development of "more potent active immunotherapies", they noted.