Ohio State UniversityThe saying killing two birds with one stone may just be proved right with this piece of news. Cancer experts from the Ohio State University claim that they have apparently created a tumor-attacking virus that could destroy brain-tumor cells as well as obstruct the development of new tumor blood vessels.

This study apparently illustrates that viruses intended to kill cancer cells i.e. oncolytic viruses could be additionally effectual against hostile brain tumors if they also carried a gene for a protein that may reduce blood-vessel development.

The protein known as vasculostatin is said to be usually generated in the brain. In this study, an oncolytic virus encompassing the gene for this protein in a few cases apparently eradicated human glioblastoma tumors budding in animals. They also have supposedly slowed tumor relapse considerably in others.

Glioblastomas, claimed to normally contain an elevated amount of blood vessels, are said to be the most general and destructive variety of human brain cancer. Individuals who are suffering from these tumors apparently survive less than 15 months on average following identification.

Study leader Balveen Kaur, associate professor of neurological surgery and a researcher with the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, commented, “This is the first study to report the effects of vasculostatin delivery into established tumors, and it supports further development of this novel virus as a possible cancer treatment. Our findings suggest that this oncolytic virus is a safe and promising strategy to pursue for the treatment of human brain tumors. This study shows the potential of combining an oncolytic virus with a natural blood-vessel growth inhibitor such as vasculostatin. Future studies will reveal the potential for safety and efficacy when used in combination with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.”

Jayson Hardcastle, a graduate student in Dr. Kaur’s laboratory, apparently inserted the cancer-killing virus known as RAMBO (for Rapid Antiangiogenesis Mediated By Oncolytic virus), immediately into human glioblastoma tumors budding either beneath the skin or in the brains of mice.

Of the 6 animals with tumors below the skin, those treated with RAMBO supposedly stayed alive for an average of around 54 days. Moreover, 3 of the RAMBO mice were claimed to be tumor-free at the conclusion of the experiment. Control animals treated with a similar virus that were deficient of the vasculostatin gene, apparently lived for an average of around 26 days and none were tumor-free.

Of the animals with a human glioblastoma in the brain, around five were treated with RAMBO and survived for an average of about 54 days. One animal supposedly stayed tumor-free for more than 120 days. Control animals, by contrast, apparently stayed alive for an average of roughly 26 days with no lasting survivors.

In a different experiment, the experts are said to have pursued the track of tumor alterations in animals with tumors in the brain. Following a preliminary duration of tumor shrinkage, the residual cancer cells apparently started regrowing around day 13 in animals who received the virus that did not have the blood-vessel inhibitor. In animals treated with RAMBO, tumor regrowth supposedly did not commence until around day 39.

Kaur is of the opinion that with further studies, this virus could lead to a new therapeutic strategy for combating cancer.

The study was published in the journal Molecular Therapy.