University of Calgary

Study investigates virus as potential cancer therapy

Aug. 24, 2012

Researchers at the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services’ Tom Baker Cancer Centre are examining the potential use of the reovirus as a possible treatment for multiple myeloma−a cancer that affects blood cells. Scientists injected the naturally occurring virus into animal models containing human multiple myeloma cell lines, and found that the virus killed the cancer cells while leaving the normal, healthy cells alone. Conventional cancer treatments such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy kill both cancerous and healthy cells.

Scientists hope this research lays the foundation for an early phase clinical trial using reovirus for the treatment of multiple myeloma. This same group of researchers has already started clinical trials using the reovirus on lung and prostate cancer.

Reovirus is a common virus that most people are exposed to in their lives but it does not result in significant illness. It manifests as flu like symptoms such as a respiratory infection or mild diarrhea.

Multiple myeloma, which represents about one per cent of all cancers, is a cancer that occurs when an accumulation of abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow interfere with the production of normal blood cells. The Canadian Cancer Society estimates there will be approximately 2,400 new cases of multiple myeloma in Canada this year−230 of which will be in Alberta.

The findings were published in the August 2012 edition of Clinical Cancer Research. The study was funded by grants from the Alberta Cancer Research Institute. __________________________________________________________________

WHO: researcher and clinician who worked on this study
WHERE: in the lab, Tom Baker Cancer Centre - 1331 29th Str. NW, Calgary, AB.

Media please meet in the lobby of the Tom Baker Cancer Centre and you will be escorted. Parking in Lot 1 or if parking is full, drop gear off and park in Lot 6.

WHEN: Wednesday August 29, 2012 from 12:30pm-2:30pm
Please phone to book an in-person or phone interview:

Media contact: Marta Cyperling, media relations manager, 403 210-3835 marta.cyperling@ucalgary.ca