Treatment for Poliovirus May Also Help Against Cancer

Recent laboratory studies have revealed that a poliovirus-based therapy introduced by Duke Cancer Institute for treating glioblastoma brain tumors, is also effective for the treatment of pediatric brain tumors. The use of this modified form of the virus as part of a vaccine against cancer made it applicable for treating tumors in a child’s brain.

Polio-Rhinovirus Chimera Stimulates Dendritic Cells’ Activity

In the preclinical phase of these studies, human cancer cells and mice were used to check how this poliovirus-based therapy affects tumors. The research team inoculated these human cancer cells and mice with a modified poliovirus vector.

On observation, the team found that this inoculation triggered an immune response against the cells affected by cancer. Whereas, the response was found to be much greater in the case of diffuse midline glioma (DMG) tumors.

Children are affected by this deadly diseases throughout the world. The research team has also provided a description regarding the polio-rhinovirus chimera’s (PVSRIPO’s) capability to infect and trigger dendritic cell activity.

A tumor antigen in the case of diffuse midline glioma tumors can be expressed via a modified form of poliovirus. The journal “Nature Communications” has presented the observation of this study.

Dendritic Cells Suppress Tumor Growth

On receiving the stimulus from dendritic cells, the tumor antigen-specific T-cells start moving towards the site of the tumor. In animal tumor models, these specific T-cells began attacking the tumor cells and slowing down the growth of the tumor, thus increasing the survival chances of these models.

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Besides the beneficial effects of dendritic cells, they have a limitation, which is the difficulty in controlling their activity.

Matthias Gromeier is the study’s senior author and has provided services like development of poliovirus-based therapy as a part of Duke’sPreston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center. According to him, this poliovirus-based therapy is quite advantageous in terms of initiating the activity of antigen-specific CD8+ T-cells as a possible vaccine against cancer.

In addition to this, Gromeier said that the natural modifications in the polioviruses have allowed them to trigger an immune response in a human. These modified forms of polioviruses cause dendritic cells to perform their activity by initiating anticancer CD8+ T-cell immunity and the process of inflammation.

In spite of its role in inducing CD8+ T-cell immunity, polioviruses weren’t found interfering with the adaptive or innate immunity. The potential role of these modified viruses as a cancer vaccine has been tested continuously in order to initiate a phase 1 clinical trial, added Gromeier.

The research team is confident that this new approach can be investigated as a possible treatment method for DMG tumors that influences both the children affected and their families. The authors of this latest study are David M. Ashley, Darell D. Bigner, Smita K. Nair, Hideho Okada, Jana Cable, Yuanfan Yang, Michael C. Brown, Elena Y. Dobrikova, Mubeen M. Mosaheb, and Matthias Gromeier.

The V Foundation, a Defeat DIPG Research Grant, and the Public Health Service (F32 CA224593 and R01 NS108773) have also supported the efforts of the research team regarding this matter.