E. Antonio Chiocca, MD, PhD
Development of an oncolytic virus with prodrug-activating gene therapy.
Malignant gliomas are one of the most incurable forms of cancer, attacking the brains of children or adults and causing death, on average, by 1-2 years. We have been employing tumor-selective viruses that will specifically attack these cancers in the brain and will sensitize these cancers to the effect of chemotherapy by transferring the genes that activate such chemotherapy drugs.
The virus that we have tested in mice with brain tumors is named MGH2 and we now plan to perform preclinical toxicology studies requested by the FDA before proceeding to a human phase I clinical trial. A clinical trial in humans will involve injecting the brain tumor with MGH2 in combination with the two chemotherapy agents, cyclophosphamide and irinotecan, that are converted by the MGH2-transferred genes into the active anticancer agents. This multimodal viro- and gene-based therapy would thus provide the opportunity of attacking multiple vulnerabilities within the malignant brain tumor.
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