The first patient received a treatment for cancer, which experts call revolutionary - a genetically engineered virus, according to the Daily Mail.
Not all immuno-oncology methods are effective in the long run. Often, patients experience relapses, the body stops responding to treatment or develops resistance to it. The Vaxinia virus (full name CF33-HNIs VAXINIA) is an "oncolytic virus", that is, a naturally occurring virus that has been genetically modified specifically to fight cancer. It is engineered by geneticists to infect and destroy cancer cells while keeping them healthy and boosting the immune system.
The new treatment is a collaboration between Imugene Limited, a specialist in new cancer treatments, and California's City of Hope National Medical Center. Animal tests have shown the virus to be effective against colon, lung, breast, ovarian, and pancreatic tumors. Doctors have now begun a phase 1 clinical trial, during which Vaxinia will be injected into 100 cancer patients at ten clinics in the US and Australia. The trials are to last two years.
Oncolytic viruses have long been considered very promising cancer therapies, and they have been under active development in recent years. In 2021, a modified Coxsackie virus, one of the viruses that causes the common cold, showed promise in treating advanced skin cancer that could not be cured with surgery. Another study showed the effectiveness of reovirus injected directly into the bloodstream to treat people with aggressive brain tumors.