The FDA has awarded a $600,000 grant for a phase I clinical trial of a genetically reprogrammed herpes simplex virus in young cancer patients with relapsed non-central nervous system (CNS) solid tumors such as sarcomas and neuroblastomas.The research involves potential uses for the HSV1716 virus, an “orphan drug” developed in Glasgow, Scotland, according to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Ohio. The institution announced in a press release that it has received the grant to study the virus. Certain genes have been removed from the HSV1716 so that the virus does not infect healthy dormant cells.
Researchers at the center are seeking to recruit 12 to 18 patients ≥13 years of age and ≤30 years whose oncologists have determined that there is no conventional or available therapy for them. The primary objective is to determine whether intratumoral injection of HSV1716, at dose levels shown to be safe for adult tumors, is also safe for adolescents and young adults with non-CNS solid tumors. Survival rates for these patients are generally <20%, the researchers indicated.
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