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Case Western Reserve study shows promising signs for cancer patients

Researchers at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, Emory University show early success in administering modified adenovirus to eliminate cancer in mouse models.
Case Western Reserve Univeristy School of Medicine

CLEVELAND — New research at Case Western Reserve University and Emory University offers hope in eliminating human cancer cells.

Medical researchers at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and Emory University School of Medicine have shown early success using mouse models by administering a modified strain of adenovirus into the bloodstream.

Doctors have had previous success in treating some types of skin cancer at the surface with human-engineered viruses, but scientists have yet to find a way to inject these types of viruses into the body to "seek and destroy" other cancers, such as lung cancer.

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"You have to be cautious with saying this is a 'first,' or the 'first time,' but I don't know of any other engineered oncolytic virus that can function in the body after IV injection, find metastatic disease and, in some cases, completely clear that tumor," said Phoebe L. Stewart, a professor off Pharmacology and member of the Cleveland Center for Membrane and Structural Biology at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. "While it is not yet ready for humans, this is a major step forward - and really the culmination of my entire scientific career."

Oncolytic viruses are a class of viruses that infect and kill tumor cells by reproducing efficiently in the tumor without causing harm to the surrounding healthy cells.

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Stewart has been working on this project for the past five years with longtime collaborator Dmitry M. Shayakhmetov, professor of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine.

Their research was recently published in the journal Science Translational Medicine

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