One of the most exciting areas of study in the fight against malignant mesothelioma is the use of viruses to fight the rare form of cancer at the cellular level. Referred to as virotherapy, the protocol involves infecting malignant cells with a virus meant to kill them: the viruses are injected directly into the tumor, thus avoiding any potential adverse effects of introducing the viruses into the bloodstream and risking the health of other cells in the body.
Collaborative study involves researchers from all over the world
The question of whether virotherapy could be used in the battle against was raised by a collaborative group of researchers working at the National Cancer Institute of Naples, the University of Naples ‘Federico II’, the University of Siena, and the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Writing in the medical journal Frontiers in Oncology, the researchers explain that they specifically identified a type of virus known as an adenovirus as being most effective for their purpose: adenoviruses are among the most common types of viruses used in oncolytic studies, in large part because they can easily be engineered to infect and multiply within cancer cells.
Study uses the same type of virus as the common cold to kill mesothelioma cells
The group’s study showed that by using the adenovirus dl922-945, they were able to both infect the mesothelioma cells and cause the cells’ death, effectively acting as as a vaccine against the rare form of asbestos-related cancer. Not only did it lead to cell death, but dl922-947 also acted to stop the mesothelioma tumor cells from generating the factors that lead to further tumor growth.
According to co-first author Sarah DiSoma of the University of Naples, “dl922-947 treatment proved effective also in vivo, inhibiting the growth of mesothelioma xenografts, leading to complete tumor shrinkage in some mice and reducing the formation of intratumoral microvessels,” while her co-lead author from the National Cancer Institute of Naples, Francesca Pentimalli, said, “The next step will consist in assessing the potential of virotherapy in combination with the recently developed immune targeted therapies and translate these approaches to the clinical practice upon rigorous clinical trial testing.”
With mesothelioma continuing to cause suffering to those exposed to asbestos all over the world, the need for innovative treatment options continues. For information about where to find the best care, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.