AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 3, 2018

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Viral Immunotherapy for Brain Tumors in Children Shows Promise

A viral immunotherapy using a herpes virus to treat brain tumors has been shown to be safe and well-tolerated in a pediatric study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Children’s of Alabama. The findings also showed preliminary evidence of effectiveness in killing malignant tumor cells.

The virus, known as G207, is derived from the herpes virus responsible for cold sores. The virus is genetically altered so that it infects only tumor cells. When infused into a malignant brain tumor, the virus enters the tumor cells and replicates. This kills the cell and releases the virus’s progeny to hunt out other tumor cells. Additionally, the virus induces a strong immune response by the body’s immune system, which can attack the tumor.

Six pediatric subjects have been treated with G207 in the current trial. No dose-limiting toxicities or serious side effects occurred. Five of the six patients had evidence of tumor killing by the virus, including a patient who is over 18 months out with an ongoing response to the therapy without any other treatment.

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