The researchers at the Novosibirsk Academgorodok and Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR are developing drugs for the treatment of oncological diseases by using living viruses, including vaccinia viruses and adenoviruses. The human trials may start as early as in 2020, announced Sergey Netesov, the Head of Biotechnology and Virology Laboratory of the Novosibirsk State University and Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
“We are currently developing and testing a new generation of viral cancer drugs and, in three years, we are going to begin the clinical trials. These are living but weakened viruses that “know” how to distinguish cancer cells from a healthy one. They multiply in cancer cells and destroy them virtually without affecting the normal cells,” said the scientist.
He added that the research conducted in the world involves five different families of viruses, including adenoviruses, paramyxoviruses, reoviruses, herpes viruses and vaccinia viruses. The scientists believe that these viruses can be used against various types of cancer. In contrast to natural strains, these therapeutic viruses are weakened and bear additional introduced genes that strengthen their oncolytic properties.
Mr. Netesov said that two versions of the drug are ready for preclinical trials, with the cost of each trial about 20 million rubles.