BO-112 --- New Drug impersonating a Virus, "infecting" Cancer Cells
Hi friends, just came across the following, so just sharing here:
Drug tricks cancer cells by impersonating a virus
A new cancer drug helps the immune system destroy tumors by impersonating a virus and "infecting" cancer cells.
The drug, called BO-112, is in human trials and mimics the structure of a double-stranded RNA molecule, a type of genetic material found in some viruses.
Viruses inject their RNA into cells during infection, but cells can spot this viral RNA using specific receptors, and call upon the immune system to intervene when viruses strike.
BO-112 takes advantage of this cellular defense mechanism — once injected inside a tumor, the drug helps to alert the body's immune system to the cancer's presence.
To hide from the immune system, cancer cells often cloak themselves in disguises, and also stop signals that could alert the body of their location.
But when treated with BO-112, tumors throw up red flags that the immune system can spot.
The drug, which has been tested in mice and a few dozen people, could help amplify the effects of existing cancer treatments designed to rally the immune system, study author Dr. Anusha Kalbasi, an assistant professor of radiation oncology at the University of California, Los Angeles and member of the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center, told Live Science in an email.
In other words, once BO-112 reveals the location of a tumor, other treatments could more easily target it. "I do think the power of BO-112 is in its ability to enable other immunotherapies to maximize their benefit," Kalbasi said.
In a separate clinical trial, published the same day, 44 human patients took BO-112 with and without additional cancer treatments, so researchers could begin to analyze how safe and effective the drug is in people. The early results hint that BO-112 can make tough-to-treat tumors vulnerable to immunotherapy, but the team now needs to confirm that those results hold up in larger groups.