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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2016-12-30

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

Local News Report  - Mobile Page


Scientists at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre use modified cold sore virus in cancer research

PATIENTS at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust are benefitting from ground breaking research that has modified the cold sore virus to treat skin cancer.

The Hospital, in Merseyside, is 1 of the top recruiters for an international trial to use the genetically modified version of herpes on melanoma patients.

The therapy could lengthen the life expectancy of some sufferers.

Called T-VEC, it is injected directly into the tumours and releases substances to help fight cancer. Crucially it is not harmful to normal cells.

T-VEC has been granted interim funding from the Cancer Drugs Fund under strict guidelines about who will and won't be able to receive the treatment.

Significantly, it is only to treat melanoma that has not spread to bone, brain, lung or other internal organs. It must also be shown that other drugs are not suitable for that particular patient.

The researchers at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, in Wirral, are hoping to learn more about exactly the type of patients who will benefit most from the drug.  Dr Joseph Sacco, Consultant in Medical Oncology at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, and local investigator for the trial, said:- "This stage of the trial has been about understanding more about how treatment works in patients, both locally in injected lesions, and through the stimulation of the immune system. Ultimately we hope that the research will help us identify which patients are most likely to benefit, thus helping us choose which patients to offer T-VEC to, minimising side effects while maximising treatment. We want to understand better exactly where to use it. T-VEC is a good new option for people with melanoma as it has low toxicity. It is exciting to see it changing outcomes, heralding a new class of drugs becoming available to use as a single agent, or with other treatments."

The findings from The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre  will now be examined, along with those from a number of centres around the world.  

The results will allow consultants to decide how and when to treat patients with T-VEC. It is expected the treatment will become available to suitable patients under the strict guidelines in 2017.


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