Kah-Whye Peng PhD

Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Rochester, MN Professor, Oncology and Molecular Medicine

Research Focus: Tumor Specific Replicating Virus

Cancer Type: Multiple Myeloma

Award: Young Investigator

2006-2009 Research Grant:

Live attenuated Edmonstron strain measles virus [MV] shows promising anti-tumor activity against several human cancers. There are currently three Phase I clinical trials underway to assess safety, with applications in ovarian cancer, glioma and multiple myeloma. However most patients have been immunized against the MV and have anti-viral antibodies that can inactivate the virus, limiting systemic MV virotherapy for metastatic diseases. We know that MV trafficks in white cells and uses them as vehicles for dissemination in the human host during the natural infection. Thus, we propose to use cells as vehicles to carry the virus to the tumor site, protecting the virus while it infects the tumor cells to induce cell death. The ability of the cell carriers to support robust virus amplification is an added bonus. In the end, we hope to have a feasible and effective clinical protocol based on our findings to treat relapsed multiple myeloma.

Current Research:

Dr. Peng is still working with the Edmonston strain measles virus to develop a tumor-specific strain aimed at regulating tumor vasculature. She is also working with another virus, the Indian strain vesicular stomatitis virus, which has also been found to demonstrate promising antitumor activity. Dr. Peng is also researching the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) as carries for the delivery of these viruses in clinical trials. She hopes that this approach to virotherapy will increase the potency of the treatments and so far results have been promising when used on animals. Finally, Dr. Peng is looking to understand the role of monocytes (a type of white blood cell) in tumor growth and differentiation and how they affect various types of cancer treatments.

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