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Translational study shows positive outcome

Translational study results for Oncolytics Biotech's Reolysin suggest that it is an effective pre-surgical treatment in metastatic colorectal cancer

Interim data from the REO 013 translational clinical trial, in which Oncolytics Biotech's Reolysin was administered to metastatic colorectal cancer patients prior to surgery for liver metastases, suggested that this type of therapy can be applied safely and effectively in a neoadjuvant setting.

After the lymph nodes, the liver is the second most common site implicated in metastatic disease. Liver metastases are a contributing factor in up to 80 per cent of deaths from colorectal cancer, according to a study published by the Postgraduate Medical Journal.

Reolysin is a proprietary formulation of human reovirus, which is an oncolytic virus (a virus that preferentially targets cancer cells). Viruses were first hypothesised as a treatment for cancer when they were discovered in the early nineteenth century; the world's first oncolytic viral therapy for cancer, Shanghai Sunway Biotech's genetically modified adenovirus H101, was approved in China in November 2005. However, this type of treatment is still not widespread.

In REO 013, an open-label, non-randomised, single centre study, Reolysin was administered intravenously to six colorectal cancer patients for five consecutive days prior to surgical resections of liver metastases. Patients were also treated with IV Reolysin one to three weeks before their scheduled surgery. 

Four of the six patients' tumours showed evidence of replication and tumour cell death, and the remaining two patients showed no evidence of replication. Based on this evidence, the research team concluded that reovirus is safe and can be delivered specifically to colorectal liver metastases prior to surgery as an IV monotherapy. This suggests that oncolytic viral therapy can be widened to the neoadjuvant setting. 

"The interim findings from this study are further supportive of our decision to conduct a phase I study of Reolysin in combination with FOLFIRI [chemotherapy] in patients with oxaliplatin refractory/intolerant Kras mutant colorectal cancer," said Dr Brad Thompson, president and CEO of Oncolytics.

The interim results of REO 013 were presented by principal investigator Prof Alan Melcher at the International Symposium on Cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) and Immunostimulation, currently being held (October 26-27 2010) in Pamplona, Spain. Reolysin is only available in a clinical trial setting: Oncolytics' current clinical programme for Reolysin encompasses a variety of human trials, including a phase III trial in head and neck cancers and phase II trials in lung cancers, metastatic melanoma and pancreatic cancer.

26th October 2010

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