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Using viruses to targetedly fight advanced cancer

Photo: ViraTherapeutics © Photo: ViraTherapeutics

The new type of treatment should already be available in this decade for the benefit of cancer patients for whom current therapies have failed. The immune vaccination developed in Tyrol to destroy tumors is considered to be a “global breakthrough, in light of the fact that, according to all results up until now in cell cultures and mouse models, it remains a highly specific effective vaccination when used in multiple applications, and does not harm healthy cells. This distinguishes our oncolytic virus from more than 20 others which are currently being researched as potentially new forms of cancer treatment”, says Dorothee Holm-von Laer, Managing Director of  ViraTherapeutics GmbH and Director of the Division of Virology at the Medical University of Innsbruck.

Innovation from Tyrol – a health-promoting virus with a cloak of invisibility

The virus developed in highly precise molecular-biological and genetic work in Innsbruck is called “VSV-GP”. It is a combination of two viruses which are harmless to people. The protein cover of the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) was replaced by the glycoprotein of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. “This covering acts like a cloak of invisibility. It partially protects VSV-GP from recognition by the body’s immune system. Even if used repeatedly, this oncolytic virus can destroy cancer cells”, explains the biochemist Lisa Egerer, who is head of the new laboratory of ViraTherapeutics GmbH. Virotherapy is an up and coming field of research. Using viruses to treat cancer has only become a focus of research in recent years.  

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