Genetically Engineered Oncolytic Virus to Treat Glioblastoma


Glioblastoma or GBM is the most aggressive brain tumor for which currently there exists no cure.  Michelle Chen talked about targeted oncolytic virus therapy for these tumors.  These tumors are highly malignant because the cells reproduce quickly and they are supported by a large network of blood vessels.  There are approximately 25,000 new cases in Europe and US, each year.  Median survival in newly diagnosed patients who receive the best treatments is less than 14 months.  Most patients experience quick relapse and survival after 5 years is very dim.

Following the diagnosis, the current standard of care consists of surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy with temozolomide.  FDA has recently also approved Avastin for recurrent GBM.  But new therapies for GBM are urgently needed.  There is a lot of activity in this space but currently active drugs have lot of safety concerns.

English: TAC_Brain_tumor_glioblastoma-Coronal_...

English: TAC_Brain_tumor_glioblastoma-Coronal_plane Italiano: Immagine TAC della zona cerebrale, identificando un tumore di tipo glioblastoma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DNX-2401 may be an elegant genetic engineered solution.  DNX-2401 is an engineered virus that is capable of selectively and effectively killing a broad range of tumor cells with defects in the retinoblastoma (Rb) pathway.  The virus enters cells by binding to specific types of integrins highly expressed on tumor cells and tumor endothelial cells.  Once it gets in, the virus replicates rapidly and the replicating viruses in turn kill host tumor cells.  Further cell killing is done by triggering of anti tumor immune response which is capable of eliciting tumor destruction.

DNX-2401 therapy has shown to improve survival in animal models.  Relapse of GBM is attributed to recurrence and persistence of tumor stem cells.  Is it possible that the virus kills the stem cells as well?  Indeed, results indicate that brain tumor stem cells are also susceptible to being killed by DNX-2401, said Chen.  Additionally, Delta 24 RGD + temozolomide seem to provide enhanced therapeutic benefit in combination therapy.

Early safety profile of DNX-2401 looks very good and early indication suggests it to be very efficacious and capable of selectively and effectively killing a broad range of tumor cells.  Expectations are that DNX-2401 will demonstrate therapeutic effects in a wide variety of cancers.  Currently DNX-2401 is delivered by direct injection into the tumor bed, guided by the MRI through the cranium or through surgical resection, into the walls of the resection cavity to kill residual tumor cells.

Chen went into more detailed explanation of the mechanism of action, and her talk was followed by Q&A.

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Other information and events below.

Jobs: There is a huge uptick in JOBS.  Check out new jobs posted for May at http://bit.ly/1o85CTM .

TiEcon: If you are a professional  in #healthIT, #digital health,  #internetofthings, #cloud, #bigdata or related, I would say this is the conference, you don’t want to miss – It gives fabulous opportunity to network with 4000+ professionals. Check out great agenda, top notch speakers & panelists at www.tiecon.org.  Register for #TiEcon (May 16 & 17 at Santa Clara Convention Center) at link http://tinyurl.com/kr2hkcw  as my guest & enter promo code tievalue to get $100 discount.

Healthtechnology conference & Code-a-thon http://www.healthtechnologyforum.com, focused on exploring pathways to sustainable health, is on May 20 in SF. Please register for the conference as my friend, with the discount code “HTF14-FriendOfOrganizer” and send me your first & last name at wd_darshana at hotmail dot com, to get $150 off the price of the ticket. There are $20K+ in prizes at the code-a-thon.

Dr. Sarvajna Dwivedi, founder of Pearl Therapeutics will talk on Tuesday, May 6.  Notice venue change & pre-register at  http://www.eppicglobal.org . Pearl Therapeutics was acquired by Astra Zeneca last year, for $1.15 B and was a winner of TiEcon’s TiE50 awards, two years in a row. It will likely be sold out event, so please pre-register.

http://www.bio2devicegroup.org meets every Tuesday in Sunnyvale, CA.  Morning meetings are free, wealk-ins welcome. Dr. Alan Jacobs, Founder & CEO, PerceptiMed will talk on “Preventing Drug-Related Patient Injury and Death With Advanced, Cost-Effective Technology Systems“.

Feel free to send me an email for any of these events at wd_darshana at hotmail dot com and you can follow my updates on Twitter @DarshanaN.

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