Altered viruses may hold key to boosting mesothelioma patient outcomes

15 Jun 2017 by under Research/Treatment

587px Researcher looks through microscope 1 100x100 Altered viruses may hold key to boosting mesothelioma patient outcomesViruses are most commonly associated with illness — the 24-hour stomach bug or a cold. However, a pair of biologists from say evidence exists that altered viruses can not only kill mesothelioma cells directly, but can be used to make immunotherapy treatments for the deadly disease more effective.

Immunotherapy is used to boost the immune system and help it recognize cancer cells. According to Surviving Mesothelioma, immunotherapy is considered one of the promising methods for fighting cancer; however, a limited number of mesothelioma patients respond to the treatment. Researchers are trying to combine immunotherapy and virotherapy — the use of altered viruses — to better increase the chances of success.

“In pre-clinical models of different thoracic cancers, it has been found that these viruses can induce immunogenic cell death, increase the number of immune mediators brought into the tumor microenvironment and broaden the neoantigen-specific T cell response,” the researchers write.

Virotherapy uses viruses that have been altered to seek out and destroy cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed. This means the altered viruses “can function like immunotherapy drugs and may be able to augment the effect of these drugs when used in combination treatments for aggressive cancers like pleural mesothelioma,” according to the news source.

Mesothelioma is caused by the inhalation or ingestion of and currently has no known cure. Patients are typically diagnosed decades after they were first exposed to but usually do not live longer than a year after diagnosis. Despite heavy regulation in the United States, the number of mesothelioma cases has held steady for decades.

 

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