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Virus-Drug Combination May Have Synergistic Effect Against Glioblastoma

Posted on: 01/05/2006

Virus-Drug Combination May Have Synergistic Effect Against Glioblastoma

A new study has found that a cancer drug and an engineered form of the herpes simplex virus may work together more effectively than either agent alone to destroy glioblastoma cells from human brain cancers. The drug temozolomide, which stops tumor growth by preventing DNA replication in the cell, was approved in 2005 for the treatment of glioblastoma, a rapidly fatal type of brain cancer. However, some glioblastomas do not completely respond to this drug because the cancer cells repair DNA damage induced by the drug before the damage forces the cell to die.

Manish Aghi, M.D., Ph.D., of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues paired temozolomide with an oncolytic, or cancer killing, genetically engineered form of the herpes simplex virus called G207. They tested both agents together and separately in cancer cells and in mice with gliomas. Their laboratory studies on human cancer cells found that the virus and the drug act synergistically in cancer cells to promote cell death. Mice with brain gliomas treated with both the virus and the drug survived more than twice as long as those treated with either agent alone.

"Glioma treatment with temozolomide and G207, possibly giving temozolomide before inoculating virus during surgery to take advantage of temozolomide-induced DNA repair in residual glioma cells, warrants a clinical trial," the authors conclude.

Contact: Manish Aghi, Massachusetts General Hospital, 617-840-5111,

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