A discovery made by the UT Health Science Center School of Medicine has found RSV, a virus causing respiratory infections in children, is proving to be a potential lifesaver in adults.
San Antonio.- A discovery made by the UT Health Science Center School of Medicine has found RSV, a virus causing respiratory infections in children, is proving to be a potential lifesaver in adults.
The virus is able to solely destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact.
Sanantu Bose, Ph.D. of the School of Medicine is the inventor of the pending U.S. patent to use the virus as an oncolytic. Oncolytic viruses infect and damage cancer cells.
Dr. Bose discovered the virus’s oncolytic properties by studying the immune response if normal and cancerous cells to RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). Dr. Bose worked with Bandana Chatterjee Ph.D., co-inventor of the patent. They tested RSV on a mouse with prostate cancer and the results yielded a high anti-cancer effect.
According to a company statement, RSV is already proving effective on patients abroad.
“This is an exciting development because this is a homegrown invention that is being tested on humans, and therefore this discovery has direct clinical, translational reference,” Dr. Bose said.
“We are please that CZ BioMed has agreed to work with us to commercialize Dr. Bose’s and Dr. Chatterjee’s exciting discovery to efficiently target and treat different forms of cancer,” said South Texas Technology Management Executive Director Arjun Sanga.
Dr. Chatterjee emphasized the importance of the virus killing tumors in mice with competent immune systems because the same can be replicated in humans.
RSV is safe to use against the tumors because the children’s virus doesn’t affect adults.
Dr. Bose explained that the immune response by the virus is why prevents RSV from growing in healthy cells.
“Normal cells have weapons to shoot down viruses, but cancer cells have lost their anti-viral arsenal,” he added. “For this reason viruses can establish themselves in a tumor, grow and induce cell death.”
CZ BioMed praised the positive results from human trials overseas. The treatment yielded minimal side effects as compared to traditional therapies involving chemo and radiation.
Animal results offered similar promise – mice with prostate tumors treated with the virus were cancer-free within a week.
“We kept the mice for four months, and the tumors never came back,” Dr. Bose said.
With the aid of grants from the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases); the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; the San Antonio Life Sciences Institute; and the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at UTHSC, scientists are one step closer to giving cancer patients a new lease on life.