BREAKTHROUGH IN BREAST TUMOR TREATMENT
Scientists Discover a New Gene Therapy to Boost Immunity
In a groundbreaking development, scientists have found a unique way to treat breast tumors. They’ve come up with a special gene therapy that strengthens the body’s natural defense system. This therapy is showing promising results and could offer hope to many patients.
HOPE FOR DIFFICULT-TO-TREAT TUMORS
Improving Survival with Adenoviral Gene Therapy
Breast tumors, especially gliomas, often have poor outcomes and don’t respond well to traditional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. But a recent study published in the journal ‘The Lancet Oncology’ brings hope. It reveals that a new gene therapy not only appears to be safe but also enhances survival rates.
Oren Sagher, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Michigan, calls this discovery exciting. He says, “We’re thrilled to see this innovative therapy move from the lab to real-world use so smoothly. This is a big step forward in medical research.”
THE FIRST HSV-1 VACCINE
A Two-Pronged Approach to Fight Gliomas
In a Phase 1 trial, researchers explored two types of genetic therapies for gliomas. The first involved a combination of an HSV-1 vaccine and Valtrex, a drug used for viral infections. This HSV-1 vaccine transforms Valtrex into a powerful compound that can destroy rapidly dividing cancer cells. The second therapy uses Flt3L, a protein that attracts vital immune cells to the brain.
When these therapies were used together, they showed promising early results, including increased survival rates. Among the 18 patients in the trial, six lived for more than two years, three for more than three years, and one patient, still alive today, has survived for five years.
GAME-CHANGING ADENOVIDAL GENE THERAPY
Extended Activity to Fight Tumor Recurrence
Traditionally, adenoviral gene therapy vectors were expected to remain active for just one month. However, the research team found that the adenoviral vector expressing the HSV1-vaccine stayed active for up to 17 months. This remarkable discovery could revolutionize adenoviral gene therapy for brain tumors and potentially extend the window for fighting tumor recurrence. Combining HSV1-TK and Valtrex may be a viable treatment option.
Pedro Lowenstein, a professor of neurosurgery at U-M, explains, “This idea began as a theory based on evolution and is now being used to treat real patients. After many years of research, we’re thrilled to share the positive results of using this approach to treat brain tumors in humans.”
Maria Castro, another professor of neurosurgery at U-M, adds, “This breakthrough gives hope to patients with brain tumors. It could lead to improved treatments for this group of patients.”
While more research is needed before this therapy becomes widely available, the long-lasting effects of HSV1-TK gene expression suggest that it holds promise for improving cancer treatments. The results from this study provide a strong foundation for future Phase 1b/2 clinical trials.