Roberto Cattaneo PhD

Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Director, Virology & Gene Therapy Graduate School; Consultant, Molecular Medicine

Research Focus: Tumor Specific Replicating Virus

Cancer Type: Lymphoma & Leukemia

Award: Clinical Investigator

2006-2009 Research Grant:

Studies in recent years have documented the lytic effects of various viruses on many human cancers, and the study and re-engineering of oncolytic viruses is intensifying. Recombinant measles viruses [MV] appear to be ideal vectors for lymphoma treatment, as wild-type MV infection occasionally induces lymphoma regression in humans. We plan to produce viruses that replicate selectively in transformed lymphocytes, viruses with modulatable cytotoxicity, and viruses with a targeted envelope. Eventually we will combine the characteristics of the most effective viruses into a ‘second generation’ virus that is armed and targeted.

Current Research:

Dr. Cattaneo has been working profusely with viruses to understand the way they infect their hosts while also researching how certain viruses and viral vectors can be applied to treat cancer. Recently, he and his team identified the mechanism that makes the measles virus so contagious. This finding has outstanding implications for future cancer treatment using the measles virus because Dr. Cattaneo also found that the protein behind this mechanism is a marker for lung, breast and ovarian cancer. The hope is that the measles virus can be modified to target only tumor cells which would be an amazing step for cancer treatment.

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