Ohio State University Logo The enzyme chondroitinase apparently accelerates capability of the cancer-killing virus called oncolytic. Scientists from the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute claim that oncolytic viruses together with the enzyme chondroitinase destroy cancer cells in a more effective way. The research findings appear greatly significant for treating deadly brain tumors.

The enzyme probably enables oncolytic virus to pass through the thickets of protein molecules that fill space between cells and impede the virus’s movement through the tumor. In order to conduct the investigation, animals were transplanted with a human glioblastoma, which is the most common and deadly form of brain cancer. Once the virus was armed with the enzyme, a survival of 52 percent was registered as compared to controls. In some cases this treatment was probably capable of eliminating the tumor completely.

The enzyme can be possibly achieved from the intestinal bacteria called Proteus vulgaris. Sugar chains branching from molecules called proteoglycans may be removed by this enzyme for clearing the path and helping the virus. Investigators also injected human glioblastoma cells under the skin of eight animals. Once tumors developed, they were supposedly treated with the enzyme-armed virus. Survival for an average of 28 days, with two remaining tumor-free after 80 days was reported. Animals in the control group subjected to a virus without the enzyme apparently survived for 16 days.

Balveen Kaur, associate professor of neurological surgery, lead researcher, quoted, “Our results show for the first time that an oncolytic virus with this enzyme can spread more effectively through the tumor and underscores the potential of using chondroitinases to enhance the capacity of oncolytic viruses to destroy cancer cells.”

Another experiment was triggered on mice with human gliobastomas transplanted into the brain. While those provided with the virus and enzyme survived 32 days, control animals were allegedly able to live for 21 days. Two animals receiving the combined treatment seemingly lived for more than 80 days and revealed no trace of the tumor later. Researchers conclude that an oncolytic virus armed with this enzyme can result in a greater anti-cancer effect than a similar virus without the enzyme.

The research was published online in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.