Lab experiments conducted in Australia show that a so-called echovirus might be an effective agent against Ovarian cancer.
Some types of echovirus can cause illnesses such as meningitis or intestinal inflammation, but others are relatively harmless. Echovirus type 1 (EV1) infection usually produces no symptoms, or only a mild upper respiratory illness, according to a report in the International Journal of Cancer.
Dr. Darren R. Shafren from the University of Newcastle in New South Wales and colleagues found that EV1 displayed a high affinity for human Ovarian cancer cells, and this led to the team’s current work.
They observed that EV1 infected and killed all eight human ovarian cancer cell lines tested, but did not infect normal ovarian surface cells.
In mice carrying grafted ovarian tumors, inoculation of EV1 directly into tumors rapidly reduced their size as well as the size of tumors distant from the injection site.
Also, abdominal administration of EV1 was effective against “widespread” Ovarian cancer grafts in the abdominal cavity of mice, which mimics the situation in human ovarian cancer.
These findings, Shafren’s team says, suggest that “relatively noninvasive EV1 therapy may be viewed as an attractive alternative to current treatment regimens that involve surgical debulking followed by combination chemotherapy.”
EV1 therapy may also be useful following surgical removal of tumors, to target and destroy cancer cells released during surgery.
SOURCE: International Journal of Cancer, June 10, 2005.
Revision date: July 7, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.