GMO HSV-1 vs Brain Cancer

Orac wrote yesterday about the abominable union between anti-vaxers and anti-GMOers:

“Genetically modified” vaccines and GMOs: Sapping and impurifying all our precious bodily fluids?

My 'message' to these kinds of people?  Get over it.  Fast.  Because you look ridiculous.

Skinner: Im telling you people, the earth revolves around the sun!
Abe: Burn him! [lights the pyre]
Shutton: What a story! [takes a photo]
Abe: [chasing him] Youve stolen my soul!

Average Joes and Janes might, might know a little bit about the Most Famous GMO viruses: Vaccines.  And thats all fine and dandy for some of them to be anti-vax.  They usually dont have to pay any direct consequences for their anti-vax decisions because of herd immunity.  Whatever.

But we are getting to the point where if everything goes according to plan, getting infected with GMO viruses is going to be a standard treatment strategy for many of the 'hopeless' genetic and acquired disease we deal with today.  Some might even be better treatments for diseases we can already manage.  And its gonna be AWESOME!  Not that there are not individuals who refuse life-saving treatments today for BS reasons, but it will soon be nearly impossible to be anti-GMO and not pay for that decision with your life.

New GMO viral product jumping through the hoops:

Efficacy of HER2 retargeted herpes simplex virus as therapy for high-grade glioma in immunocompetent mice

Ive written about high-grade gliomas, specifically glioblastoma multiform, and GMO viruses before:

You know what would be a great anti-cancer therapy? RAT VIRUSES!

This kind of cancer makes up ~50% of all brain cancers, it does not respond well to usual therapies (surgery, chemo, radiation), and has an extremely high, fast mortality rate.

We need something for these people, and it aint an organic muffin.

In this paper, scientists are trying a different angle.  Rather than the GMO parvovirus, theyve manipulated herpes.  In case you all havent noticed, herpes is a great anti-tumor virus.  Its not a permanent infection like a retrovirus, and no chance of insertional mutagenesis (feel stupid giving someone cancer treating their cancer).  Its got a HUGE genome you can scoop out and replace with therapeutic genes of interest.  And its ultimately just herpes.  If something goes wrong in a clinical trial, you put the patient on acyclovir or some other anti-herpes meds and youre set.  Plus, herpes loves brains, so its a natural fit to try to use this guy to treat brain tumors.

These folks made some... DUN-DUN-DUUUUUUN... genetic modification of herpes to make it target tumors rather than healthy brain tissue.

They then injected this... DUN-DUN-DUUUUUUN... GMO virus into the brains of mice.  No encephalitis.  No infection whatsoever, outside of the context of a tumor.

They then injected mice with this virus at early and late time-points after implantation of brain tumors.  The virus retarded the growth of the tumors, and some of the mice treated with the GMO virus 'early' survived until the very end of the study.  The mice treated 'late' still died, but they lived longer than the control mice.

How are they going to move forward to make this treatment even better?

More GMO-ing, of course:

In perspective, it is also to consider the possibility of improving the efficacy of oncolytic effect by ‘arming’ retargeted oHSVs with cytokines as IL-12, GM-CSF or IL-21 in order to recruit effector cells and enhance the response of the immune system against the tumor.

Afraid of genetically modified viruses?

Get over it.

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"We need something for these people, and it aint an organic muffin."

This statement, and more like it, are one of the reasons why I keep reading your blog-- your flair for the understatement cannot be understated.


Nice column.

By Bob Powers (not verified) on 03 Oct 2012 #permalink

Can't wait for the AoA outcry once we add a brain cancer shot to the vaccination schedule.