MAR 24, 2018 10:51 PM PDT

A Modified Version of Herpes Simplex Virus-1 May Cure Advanced-Stage Liver Tumors

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Image via European Pharmaceutical Review

A recent study showcased in the Society of Interventional Radiology Annual Scientific Meeting explains that liver Tumors, in an advanced stage, can be safely treated through what is known as an "image-guided" injections using an approved immunotherapeutic for melanoma. "Advanced-stage liver tumors, including ones that have spread from other locations, have limited treatment options because the patients can be in poor health; further, the complex structure of the organ can make it difficult to target with standard approaches," said Steven S. Raman, M.D., professor of radiology, surgery and urology at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, and lead author of the study.

Investigators discovered that a genetically modified version of the herpes simplex virus-1 called talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC) which contains the gene for granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) may be administered safely into active cancer cells of the liver tumor. The injection of T-VEC directly into the liver tumor will allow the GM-CSF to stimulate the production of T cells immune system so that the better recognize tumor proteins and destroy cancer cells throughout the body and thus effectively eradicating the liver tumor. "This minimally invasive treatment offers patients a novel way to, directly and indirectly, attack the cancer cells," explains Raman.

Image via Cancer Network

Investigators at research centers throughout the United States, Spain, and Switzerland used image-guided needle injections to treat patients of advanced-stage liver metastases in addition to those suffering from cirrhosis, an advanced-stage of liver scarring beyond fibrosis. The study participants were administrated increasing doses of T-VEC, which were levels up to the regulation limit of FDA-approved dose for melanoma. Doses given to each patient varied based on the lesion size.

The investigators concluded that patients were able to sustain the treatment with the inevitable side-effects such as temporary flu-like symptoms. However, researchers will continue to collect results following-up with patients for a maximum of two years with new trials studying the efficacy of the drug in treating advanced liver cancer. Investigators are also planning additional research to test the therapeutic effectiveness of T-VEC in combination with a checkpoint inhibitor to activate a stronger immune response. "Image-guided treatments have expanded the options available for patients with liver cancer from innovative approaches to biopsies to resections to chemo," says Raman. "This is an exciting way to look to the future, but patients living with advanced liver cancer should understand that this treatment will not be available for several years, except through clinical trials."

Sources: Cancer Network, Medical Xpress

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
AUG 16, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Could Cat Drugs Treat COVID-19 in Humans?
AUG 16, 2020
Could Cat Drugs Treat COVID-19 in Humans?
While COVID-19 may not affect cats much, felines are known to contract another kind of coronavirus that can sometimes be ...
AUG 24, 2020
Immunology
Injectable Drug Stops HIV From Entering Cells
AUG 24, 2020
Injectable Drug Stops HIV From Entering Cells
Once in the body, HIV tracks down T cells that bear the CD4 receptor. It attaches to these immune cells, fusing itself w ...
AUG 24, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
New Drug Reduces Swelling in Asthma and COPD
AUG 24, 2020
New Drug Reduces Swelling in Asthma and COPD
Researchers from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and the University of Technology Sydney in Australia have identifi ...
AUG 25, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Synthetic Cannabinoid Drug to Enter Human Trials
AUG 25, 2020
Synthetic Cannabinoid Drug to Enter Human Trials
In recent months, interest has been growing in the potential for cannabinoids- the compounds found in cannabis- to treat ...
SEP 29, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Cycling Molecules into Drug Candidates
SEP 29, 2020
Cycling Molecules into Drug Candidates
Statistics show that just 1 in 5,000 drug candidates ever makes it from the lab to the pharmacy. In a process that can t ...
SEP 10, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Improving Chemotherapeutic Delivery
SEP 10, 2020
Improving Chemotherapeutic Delivery
One particular form of stubborn cancer, known as hepatocellular carcinoma, has been challenging to treat and as a result ...
Loading Comments...