ACGT recently awarded a half-million dollar grant to brain cancer researcher Juan Fueyo, MD, who is developing an oncolytic virus therapy to treat the brain cancer glioblastoma.
Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT) recently awarded a $500,000 grant to brain cancer researcher Juan Fueyo, MD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is developing an oncolytic virus therapy to treat the brain cancer glioblastoma.
The oncolytic virus has already been tested in a clinical trial, where it helped 20% of patients with glioblastoma live longer, some for as long as three years. ACGT funding will help Dr Fueyo and his research partner, Candelaria Gomez-Manzano, MD, also of MD Anderson Cancer Center, make the virotherapy work for a larger percentage of patients with this brain tumor.
“You cannot sacrifice the organ [the brain]. Gliomas, such as glioblastoma, are not metastatic tumors, meaning they don’t spread far away. They never metastasize. …But since it’s in the brain, it’s more difficult to be cured.”
—Juan Fueyo, MD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Oncolytic virus therapy is a form of immunotherapy that uses modified versions of viruses to infect and destroy cancer cells. Scientists engineer viruses—such as the herpes simplex virus—to only infect cancer cells, which break apart once they’re infected. The breaking of the cancer cells releases hidden proteins, which can lead to an improved immune response.
ACGT’s mission is to fund research that specifically focuses on cell and gene therapy science. Cell and gene therapy harnesses the power of the immune system to fight cancer. ACGT funds bold and innovative scientists who are researching this field of treatment and advancing it from the laboratories to clinics.
ACGT has awarded 14 grants totaling $6.75 million specifically for projects focused on using cell and gene therapy for brain cancer.