Reducing Chemotherapy’s Side Effects
The combination of oncolytic viral therapy and various chemotherapeutic agents (including cisplatin and gemcitabine) has been shown to improve the oncolytic activity of the Genelux vaccinia virus GL-ONC1. Unfortunately, chemotherapies are toxic to healthy cells as to cancer cells alike, and thus often cause a range of unwanted side effects. One of the most common is myelosuppression, which includes a decreased production of thrombocytes (platelets). Chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) is a significant safety concern for cancer patients, including the increased risk of bleeding and can delay scheduled treatment, while leaving patients feeling weak and fatigued.
To minimize thrombocytopenia during combination viral and chemotherapy, Genelux scientists constructed a novel oncolytic vaccinia virus (GLV-1h90) from the Genelux parent strain GL-ONC1, encoding it with the hyper-IL-6 cytokine. After systemic delivery of GLV-1h90 in mouse models bearing human prostate cancer xenografts, the hyper-IL-6 cytokine was successfully produced within the tumor and was well tolerated. When combined with the chemotherapeutic mitomycin C, the anti-tumor effect of the oncolytic virotherapy was significantly enhanced. Moreover, hyper-IL-6 expression greatly reduced the time during which the mice suffered from chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia. Future clinical trials may establish novel cytokine treatments encoded in our proprietary vectors, and produced within tumors to reduce chemotherapy-induced side effects.