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Scientists: New treatment gives cancer patients hope

Scientists: New treatment gives cancer patients hope

In a press release, the City of Hope, one of the nation’s top cancer treatment and research institutes, stated that Phase 1 of a clinical study to utilize a modified virus to target advanced solid tumors has begun.

Science is employing a wide range of instruments to answer the enigma of cancer.


Scientists are employing novel strategies to limit collateral harm and enhance patient outcomes. This includes utilizing medications that selectively target malignant cells and reprogramming the patient’s immune cells to combat cancer.

This category also includes oncolytic (cancer-killing) viruses. The method tries to combat cancer by utilizing the body’s immune system.

The existence of a tumor, on the other hand, is a clear indication that the immune system has failed. That is, it has failed to recognize the threat. Consequently, scientists want to use a virus that produces pieces that can alert the immune system to malignant cells.

Scientists: a new cancer treatment offers hope to cancer patients

Scientists do this by modifying a virus, in this case a poxvirus, and then infecting the patient with it. The modified virus replicates inside the host cell and then bursts apart the cell. This releases hundreds of new viral particles, which then attach themselves to malignant cells.

These attachments signal the immune system of the host to fight the cancerous cells. The therapy utilized in this experiment is called CF-33-hNIS or Vaxinia and was produced by the Australian company Imugene.

According to the press release, the therapy has been found to decrease colon, lung, breast, ovarian and pancreatic tumors in laboratory testing and animal models.

The hNIS in the medicine refers to human Sodium Iodide Transporter. This is a protein that will be used by the scientists to visualize and monitor viral replication as well as cancerous cell damage using radioactive iodine.

Phase 1 trial

The Phase 1 trial will be administered to 100 participants across ten sites in the United States and Australia. This is with the goal of determining the drug’s safety. The volunteers will be cancer patients who have received at least two prior lines of cancer treatment and have advanced solid tumors.


According to the press release, the investigational medicine Vaxinia will be given intravenously or directly into the tumors. While all volunteers will take the medicine, some individuals will also receive pembrolizumab. This is an immunotherapy that has been shown to increase the immune system’s ability to fight cancer. This is when the drug’s safety has been established.

“Interestingly, the same traits that make cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy or radiation treatment also help oncolytic viruses succeed,” Yuman Fong, a key developer of the genetically modified virus, stated. “We hope to make use of the potential of virology and immunotherapy to treat a wide range of fatal tumors.”

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The trial was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) in December 2021 as an investigational new drug (IND). Patient recruitment is still ongoing and will take two years to complete.

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