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Research Highlight | April 23, 2015

Viruses and drugs combine to form potent anti-cancer therapy

Ottawa, ON -- Terry Fox-funded researcher, Dr. Jean-Simon Diallo and his colleagues at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute have discovered that compounds that disrupt our cells’ inner skeleton (called microtubule-destabilizing agents) can greatly enhance oncolytic virus cancer therapy in mouse and cell culture models. As described in Nature Communications, it appears that our cells’ inner skeleton plays a crucial role in making an anti-viral protein called interferon, so disrupting this skeleton also reduces the anti-viral defences of the cells. The combination therapy also seems to increase “bystander” killing of uninfected cancer cells without harming normal cells.

Microtubule-destabilizing agents have been used to treat cancer for many years and oncolytic viruses are currently being tested in clinical trials, so it would be feasible to test these therapies together in a clinical trial in the near future.

More information
See the news release and a video on the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute website.

For more information, contact:
Kelly Curwin, Chief Communications Officer
Terry Fox Research Institute
Office: 604-675-8223; Cell: 778-237-8158