Cincinnati Children’s scientists have genetically re-engineered a herpes virus to track down early stage cancers and prompt tumor cells to secrete a detectable biomarker that reveals their presence.
The research, published in the online journal PLoS (Public Library of Science) One, was covered by Scientific American.
Timothy Cripe, MD, the cancer physician and research scientist who was senior investigator on the study, says the findings in mice show significant promise for a novel technology to diagnose certain cancers earlier. The altered virus, rQ-M38G, also may cause tumors to shrink, researchers report in the study.
If the technology can be developed into a plausible diagnostic for people, it could allow earlier, faster and cheaper cancer diagnosis, says Dr. Cripe, who is co-medical director of the Office for Clinical and Translational Research and director of Pilot and Collaborative Studies in the Center for Clinical and Translational Research and Training.
The story in Scientific American offers a good summary of the study findings and their potential implications.