Oncolytic virus injections in spleen boost immune responses faster

Waiting weeks or months to administer a booster vaccine as a cancer treatment option can be potentially deadly. However, an innovative approach, highlighted in a new study, offers another option.  

Researchers from the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada found that injecting oncolytic viruses, that is, viruses that target cancer cells, intravenously into the spleen boosts immune response faster and higher than traditional vaccine methods.

The study was published in the June issue of the Journal of Immunology.

The researchers conducted the tests in mice, and in cats brought to the Mona Campbell Centre for Animal Cancer at OVC. (Trials on dogs should begin within the next year.)

Under traditional treatment options, the tumors grew and mice died. When the researchers started injecting the viruses into the spleen, the tumors disappeared.

“You don’t want to give cancer any time to spread,” said Byram W. Bridle, PhD, lead study author. “What injecting the viruses into the spleen does is it allows us to bypass the regulatory mechanism that would limit its effectiveness.”

Bridle said the findings apply to many types of cancer, including breast cancer, leukemia, prostate cancer and osteosarcoma (bone cancer), and tumors in the brain, liver, and skin.

Photo credit: © iStock/vitanovski

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