Might JX-594 have significant clinical activity in prostate cancer?

Data just published in the journal Nature suggest that an engineered oncolytic virus called JX-594 selectively targeted and destroyed cancer cells in patients without significantly affecting healthy tissue. More information is available in a media release from Jennerex, the developer of JX-594.

The article in Nature (by Brietbach et al.) — and the media release — describe how JX-594 works in cancer tissues after intravenous infusion. Apparently normal tissues were not affected clinically.

The initial group of 23 patients treated with JX-594 were all patients with advanced, treatment-refractory, solid tumors. Six of the eight patients given the two highest doses of JX-594 saw their tumors stabilize or shrink. Seven of those eight patients showed evidence of viral replication in their tumors, but not in normal tissues. It is not evident from immediately available information whether any of the 23 patients treated in this initial trial were actually men with prostate cancer. 

Whether the short-term development of JX-594 will be focused on prostate cancer is unknown at this time. There are suggestions that initial development may be focused on other forms of solid tumor, such as melanoma and liver cancer.

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