Tuesday, February 9, 2010

“Cancer cure” or “I Am Legend.” Time will tell

A friend sent me an article this past weekend on a new drug in a phase II clinical trial for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (basically head and neck cancer). The drug is Reolysin and is owned by Oncolytics Biotech (ONCY) based in Alberta Canada. It is nearing completion of a phase II trial for head and neck cancer and has shown a positive response on 42% of the patients compared to 10% in the control group.

Reolysin is derived from a virus. According to this article, the virus is harmless to healthy human cells. One of the primary issues with chemotherapies is targeting the cancer cells while leaving the healthy cells alone. Cells have pathways and scientists and cancer researchers have been using different cell pathways to specifically target cancer cells.

This drug is attracted to the Ras pathway which is turned on in many cancer cells and turned off in healthy cells. Reolysin is infused into the body daily over a few day time period. The virus enters the cancer cells via the Ras pathway, multiplies, and overwhelms the cell until it dies leaving all healthy cells alone. The virus dies along with the cancer cell. This is pretty remarkable stuff.

The success of the phase II trial is prompting active planning for a phase III trial. Here is a link to the article…


For those that did not see the movie "I Am Legend" staring Will Smith, the storyline is a cancer vaccine derived from a virus which turns 90% plus of the population into flesh eating zombies who are killing the remaining human race.

Stay healthy and take care.



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