Hold off on the chemo! Herpes doesnt like it!

Hey remember how I told you all scientists are using herpes, the regular-ol much hated cold-sore virus, to treat/cure cancers?

The approach has left us with miraculous effects… or no effects at all.

I mean, half of the melanoma patients lived A LOT LONGER than they were supposed to, several of them ending up with no evidence of disease… But that also means that half werent helped at all.

HSV-1 couldnt help a child with rhabdomyosarcoma… when it was ‘supposed’ to work so well.

What happened?

Of course that question has a collection of complex answers, and there are lots of scientists working on that question from many angles– But a group of folks might have figured out one problem: Chemo.

Concurrent chemotherapy inhibits herpes simplex virus-1 replication and oncolysis

Something was going ‘wrong’ with the system. Tumors are messed up. One of the features of some of them is a protein called NF-κB is over-expressed. This helps the tumor grow grow grow go go go.  Chemotherapy upregulates NF-κB too, because healthy cells do this normally when exposed to a stressor like chemotherapy.  And as luck would have it, HSV-1 LOVEEEEEES NF-κB for replication, which leads to cell death, the oncolytic (cancer-killing) features of HSV.  This system was designed with all of this in mind- It should be PERFECT.

Except that wasnt happening.

The over-expression of NF-κB was pissing off HSV-1, leading to less virus, and less tumor killing.

Sometimes.

:-/

Because ‘cancer’ is not a monolithic entity, and ‘chemotherapy’ is not a monolithic treatment, sometimes everything worked in concert, like it was supposed to (lots of NF-κB = lots of HSV-1 = lots of tumor killing).

Only some of the chemo medications used interfered with the activity of HSV.

So every time scientists try one of these HSV vs Cancer trials, they need to figure out if the drugs their patients are on are ones that either help HSV work better, or at least, dont interfere with HSV. That might help us get HSV to work against cancers it has failed against/not 100% in trials.

*sigh*

Ugh.  Cancer is a mess.

Comments

  1. #1 steve
    January 28, 2013

    And I just need to rule it.

  2. #2 Michael Kelsey
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    January 28, 2013

    This is fascinating. How long do the chemotherapy drugs remain in a person’s system? Could these trials ethically stop (or “pause”) chemotherapy while the modified HPV is introduced? Or is the decay time too long for that to be reasonable?

  3. #3 adam chibois
    pennsylvania
    January 29, 2013

    Hi Abbie, I commend you on your work on hiv I have been living with the virus for 13 yrs and wanted to know if you can look into this info and see if it could be applied for a treatment or cure. I was studying the flower daffodil I typed up what is the chemical composition of the flower and what can be derived from it for medicines then I found out you can get narcissine and atropine from the daffodil and it said that carbohydrate binding agents cause deletions of highly conserved glycoslation sites in HIV GP120 or a marked depletion of glycoslation of hiv gp 120 . then i typed what effects would narcissine and atropine have on retroviruses. and since hiv is a retrovirus could this flower help in mutating the hiv where it wont replicate . then I came across this site which was neat on retroviruses and the use of atropine here is the link http://www.news-medical.net/news/20100408/UBC-doctoral-candidate-discovers-a-mechanism-for-silencing-retroviruses.aspx
    then I found a list of biologist that have been working somewhat on this flower Balzarini J, Van Laethem K, Hatse S, Froeyen M, Peumans W, Van Damme E, Schols D (2005) Carbohydrate-binding agents cause deletions of highly conserved glycosylation sites in HIV GP120 – A new therapeutic concept to hit the Achilles heel of HIV. Journal of Biological Chemistry 280, 41005-14. Contact: Balzarini, Jan ; Katholieke Univ Leuven, Rega Inst Med Res, Minderbroedersstr 10, B-3000 Louvain, Belgium
    so basically since im not a college student and really dont know what im talking about could you please investigate these findings for me since your smarter and see if you added this to your equation to see if it could help cure aids thanks adam

  4. #4 Imogen
    February 1, 2013

    They should try again to look for something in common with the patients who weren’t helped, even something that you wouldn’t expect to have to do with it….

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