It sounds like sci-fi, but Andy Hayes and his team think that modified viruses could be used to make an existing treatment more effective.
The team at ICR hope that they can use viruses to improve the effectiveness of isolated limb perfusion (ILP). ILP is a form of sarcoma treatment whereby high-dose anti-cancer drugs are delivered to an affected limb, such as an arm or leg, that may not be suitable for standard surgery. In 60% of cases, the cancer shrinks in size, although this effect can often be short-lived.
Early laboratory work has found that when you combine a modified virus - one that either destroys cancer cells or prompts the body’s immune system to attack them - with ILP, the length of treatment is improved.
That’s why we’ve awarded £63,606 to a piece of clinical research at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) looking at whether you can safely combine ILP with a virus called T-VEC, a virus currently used in similar studies. Andy and his team will also be collecting tissue samples to investigate whether this combination therapy provokes the immune system to recognise and attack cancer cells.
We’re really excited about this research. It’s the first time this combination has been used, and it will give the sarcoma community further insight into how cancer-killing viruses might be used in the future to treat metastatic sarcoma. We fund this kind of research because we could find provide better ways of treating sarcoma or improve existing ones such as ILP.
Read more about this and other research and studies funded by Sarcoma UK on our research pages.