Episode Summary

A cancer-killing virus could help increase success of treatment of a form of eye cancer in children! 

Microbe of the episode

Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus 

Jesse's takeaways

Cancer obviously is a serious concern, and can be tricky to treat because there are endless varieties in all different places in the body, each of which can have its own expected progression, aggressiveness, and methods of treatment to take into account.

Even more serious is when the cancer is in very young children, as is often the case with a cancer of the eye called retinoblastoma. There are about 8000 cases of this disease per year, and when treatment is unsuccessful, it can lead to the loss of one or both eyes.

In this study, investigators looked into using a cancer-targeting, oncolytic virus to complement the normal treatment of chemotherapy. The virus for the most part remained localized to the eye where it should be, and targeted the cancer instead of healthy cells, and so seems promising. In the small trial with two patients included in this study, the virus didn't cause a complete recovery, but showed some modest promising results.

News discussed

Killer virus unleashed on a childhood eye cancer

Journal Paper

Pascual-Pasto G, Bazan-Peregrino M, Olaciregui NG, Restrepo-Perdomo CA, Mato-Berciano A, Ottaviani D, Weber K, Correa G, Paco S, Vila-Ubach M, Cuadrado-Vilanova M, Castillo-Ecija H, Botteri G, Garcia-Gerique L, Moreno-Gilabert H, Gimenez-Alejandre M, Alonso-Lopez P, Farrera-Sal M, Torres-Manjon S, Ramos-Lozano D, Moreno R, Aerts I, Doz F, Cassoux N, Chapeaublanc E, Torrebadell M, Roldan M, König A, Suñol M, Claverol J, Lavarino C, De TC, Fu L, Radvanyi F, Munier FL, Catalá-Mora J, Mora J, Alemany R, Cascalló M, Chantada GL, Carcaboso AM. 2019. Therapeutic targeting of the RB1 pathway in retinoblastoma with the oncolytic adenovirus VCN-01. Sci Transl Med 11:eaat9321.

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