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Engineered Virus Kills Tumor Cells

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  • Janice and Ben Haines
    Greetings, Here is another one from Nativity. -Ben(KIA) ... Friday May 1 1:33 PM EDT Engineered Virus Kills Tumor Cells NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Researchers
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 1998
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      Greetings,
      Here is another one from 'Nativity.'
      -Ben(KIA)

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      Friday May 1 1:33 PM EDT

      Engineered Virus Kills Tumor Cells

      NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Researchers have developed a mutant form of the
      herpes simplex virus that not only infects and kills tumor cells but
      also carries a gene that makes chemotherapeutic agents more effective.

      The mutant herpes simplex virus, called rRp450, was developed by Dr. E.
      Antonio Chiocca and his colleagues at Harvard Medical School in Boston,
      Massachusetts. In the May issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology, the
      investigators explain that when a certain enzyme, called ribonucleotide
      reductase, is inactivated, herpes simplex virus can reproduce itself in
      tumor cells but not in normal cells.

      To create rRp450, Chiocca's team inactivated the ribonucleotide
      reductase in a herpes simplex virus and replaced it with a gene that is
      responsible for initiating the actions of cyclophosphamide, an important
      chemotherapeutic drug. Then, in experiments with tumor cells in the
      laboratory and with tumors in mice, the researchers analyzed the effect
      of treatment with the mutant virus, both with and without administration
      of cyclophosphamide.

      The mutant virus reproduced itself in the tumor cells, according to the
      researcher. Furthermore, the addition of cyclophosphamide increased the
      effectiveness of the virus in killing the tumor cells in the laboratory
      experiments. In the mice, treatment with the virus and cyclophosphamide
      produced complete regression of the tumors.

      The researchers believe it may someday be "...feasible to treat human
      tumors with inoculations of rRp450 followed by local implantation of a
      polymer containing (cyclophosphamide)." And because the virus targets
      cancer cells, the technique can cut down on the side effects of
      chemotherapy. "This would allow local conversion of the chemotherapeutic
      agent within the virally infected tumor cells... minimizing systemic
      side-effects," conclude the researchers. SOURCE: Nature Biotechnology
      (1998;16:444-448)
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