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Drug-Virus Combination Destroys Glioblastoma Cells

Temozolomide and engineered herpes virus have synergistic effect and boost survival in mice

THURSDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- The anti-cancer drug temozolomide and a cancer-killing, genetically-engineered herpes simplex virus (G207) can act synergistically together to destroy human glioblastoma cells in the laboratory, according to a study in the Jan. 4 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. What's more, all mice with intracranial glioblastomas that were treated with the drug-virus combination survived to 90 days compared with 0-10% of mice treated with either agent alone, the researchers report.

Manish Aghi, M.D., Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues tested both agents together and separately in cultured human glioblastoma cells and in mice.

The researchers found that the drug-virus combination worked synergistically to kill human glioblastoma cells in the laboratory. Mice implanted with human U87 glioblastoma tumor cells also survived longer after a combination of intraperitoneal temozolomide and intratumoral G207. Those mice had a 100% survival rate at 90 days, compared to a median survival of 46 to 48 days with single-agent therapy alone, the report indicates.

"Temozolomide-induced DNA repair pathways vary with MGMT (O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase) expression and enhance herpes simplex virus-mediated oncolysis in glioma cells," the authors write. "These findings unveil the potential of herpes simplex virus to target cells surviving temozolomide treatment."

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