- Last night on CBS’ 60 Minutes news show, two segments were dedicated to an experimental treatment for brain cancer being developed at Duke University. The therapy, based on a genetically modified form of the polio virus, was injected directly into the brains of patients with glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer with a poor prognosis. Of the 22 patients treated in a Phase 1 study, 11 died. In the group of 11 survivors, though, all experienced a shrinkage in their tumors with three being cancer-free.
- The polio virus, engineered to render it incapable of harming normal cells, replicates in cancer cells, killing them. Other viruses under investigation as cancer killers are herpes simplex, vaccinia and respiratory viruses.
- The unique feature of engineered viruses is that they are designed as a single treatment, rather than a multi-dose regimen. Another benefit is their scalability, a potential problem with personalized CAR-T therapies.