In a cancer vaccine, scientists aim to develop a genetically modified herpes virus, which is now used as an anti-melanoma drug. This drug, which is already on the market, is injected locally and destroys the cancer cells, while at the same time strengthening the defense of the patient’s immune system against tumors.
The above mentioned vice-president of Research and Technology and Economic Development at the University of Louisiana,on the occasion of the conference NANOTEXNOLOGY 2017.
“A large company has already made a product on the market, which is herpesvirus type 1 and used to fight melanomas. Usually, what happens is that it partially destroys the melanomas. As the melanoma is destroyed, the defense system recognizes these damaged cells and can also eliminate tumors that may have metastasized to other parts of the body. That is, it becomes a type of vaccination.
We have made a similar herpesvirus, which I think is ten times better, because it can be multiplied much more easily and can also trigger the defense system maybe 10-20 times larger than this product that is running at this moment in the market.
Also, through nanotechnology, we can charge the virus with chemotherapeutic substances, so that it can not only awaken the defense system but also be able to transport a chemotherapist to fight cancer, “said Mr. Koussoulas.
Already in the United States, many animal experiments (mice, piglets and monkeys) have been carried out with good results, and in a few months clinical studies are expected to begin in humans and estimates that the new drug may be released on the US market in about five years.
“But we are already moving a bit faster, because a company – Viraspis – is being created in America next month, in which I will also be a shareholder, which already has a collaboration with scientists from China. And it will probably be the first clinical application in China, which will be able to bring the product to market – at least in China – perhaps in two years, “added Mr. Koussoulas.
He also highlights that herpesviruses are the first viruses to be applied in a wider context, not only against melanoma, but also against breast, prostate and glioma cancer.
“The best intervention for cancer – proven in America – is to let our defense system fight cancer. That is, there are currently clinical trials in the US that instead of administering large amounts of chemotherapeutics, they give small amounts to partially destroy the cancer cells and destroy them so that the defense system can recognize them and create another condition.
Many times, when we administer large amounts of chemotherapy, we are trying to eliminate cancer, but at the same time we are eliminating the entire defense system. It has been shown that a combination of drugs and chemotherapeutics in small quantities can in the early stages improve the condition of the tumors, especially much better than getting large amounts of chemotherapeutics. We use the virus as a method to awaken the defense system. We are basically trying to make a cancer vaccine,”