A Landmark in Gene Therapy and Virotherapy Trials
A significant landmark for the Molecular Medicine Department was July 12, 2004 when a patient with ovarian cancer received an intraperitoneal infusion of a recombinant measles virus that was designed, constructed, preclinically tested, and manufactured by the gene therapy investigators at Mayo Clinic. This is the first time that a genetically engineered measles virus has ever been tested in human subjects. The virus used in this study kills cancer cells but spares normal cells. Since then, three more trials with two different genetically modified measles virus strains were activated for patients with ovarian cancer (PI: Dr. Eva Galanis), glioblastoma multiforme (PI: Dr. Eva Galanis) and multiple myeloma (PI: Dr. Angela Dispenzieri). An additional clinical trial was activated in patients with recurrent prostate cancer, using a common cold virus carrying a gene from the thyroid gland that makes prostate cancer cells susceptible to killing by radioactive iodine (PI: Dr. John Morris). Mayo researchers are working to bring several other research projects in the Department to the stage of clinical trials in patients. Three new measles virus trials are planned for patients with mesothelioma, head and neck cancer, and breast cancer, while a trial using another novel oncolytic virus, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), is planned for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. These trials are expected to open in 2010.
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