ACGT Awards Research Grant to Develop Oncolytic Virus for Glioblastoma

Blog
Article

Funding from ACGT will help Chiocca perform FDA-required studies on mice to show the oncolytic virus is safe and can be manufactured for humans. It is the second such grant awarded to Chiocca from ACGT.

E. Antonio Chiocca, MD, PhD

E. Antonio Chiocca, MD, PhD

Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT) has awarded a multiyear research grant to E. Antonio Chiocca, MD, PhD, the chair of the Department of Neurosurgery and the codirector of the Institute for the Neurosciences at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Harvey W. Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School, to develop an oncolytic virus therapy for the difficult-to-treat brain cancer glioblastoma.

This grant is the second awarded to Chiocca, who received his first research grant from ACGT in 2007 to develop a similar virotherapy for the brain cancer. Glioblastoma is diagnosed in an estimated 15,000 people in the United States each year, and the average survival is just 8 months. It’s the most common primary brain tumor, has one of the poorest survival rates of any type of cancer, and is one of the toughest to treat.

What are oncolytic viruses?

Oncolytic viruses are modified versions of viruses engineered to infect cancer cells while ignoring healthy cells. After infecting the tumor cells, the virus causes the cells to break apart and die. This activates the immune system to the cancerous area.

Dr. Chiocca’s approach involves injecting an oncolytic virus into the brain to activate the immune system against glioblastoma.

ACGT funding for Dr. Chiocca’s virus

Funding from ACGT will help Chiocca perform FDA-required studies on mice to show the oncolytic virus is safe and can be manufactured for human patients. It’s similar to the funding Chiocca received in 2007, which led to a phase 1 clinical trial for glioblastoma. The results of that study have been promising, with several patients experiencing improved survival times thanks to the engineered virus.

In 2023, ACGT awarded 3 grants to scientists using cell and gene therapies for brain tumors: Chiocca; Hideho Okada, MD, PhD (University of California, San Francisco); and Juan Fueyo, MD (University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center). The foundation has committed $34.2 million to advancing cell and gene therapy research for all types of cancer, with a focus on solid tumors like brain cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, melanoma, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, pediatric cancers, prostate cancer, and sarcomas.

Read more about this new grant on ACGT’s website.

Related Videos
Akshay Sharma, MBBS, a bone marrow transplant physician at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Caspian Oliai, MD, MS, the medical director of the UCLA Bone Marrow Transplantation Stem Cell Processing Center
Frederick “Eric” Arnold, PhD
Genovefa (Zenia) Papanicolaou, MD, an infectious diseases specialist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Jeffrey Chamberlain, PhD, on Exciting New Research at MDA 2024
Alan Beggs, PhD, on Challenges in Therapeutic Development for Rare Diseases
Akshay Sharma, MBBS, a bone marrow transplant physician at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
PJ Brooks, PhD
John DiPersio, MD, PhD, the director of the Center for Gene and Cellular Immunotherapy at Washington University School of Medicine
Carlos Moraes, PhD, on Understanding Mitochondrial Mutations for Neurodegenerative Diseases
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.