February 22, 2017 • 2 Min

Using a Virus to Infect and Destroy Pancreatic Cancer Cells

Microscope image of mouse pancreas duct cancer with different parts of the cells stained blue or red, against a dark background

David Kashatus; National Cancer Institute Univ. of Virginia Cancer Center

Can a modified common cold virus safely enhance standard pancreatic cancer treatment?

A clinical trial looks at the safety of this treatment in patients with tumors that cannot be removed surgically. Researchers are also looking at the effectiveness of the standard of care/new agent combination in shrinking the tumors.

Infecting Cancer with a Cold Virus

Adenoviruses are the viruses that cause the common cold. An oncolytic adenovirus is a common cold virus that has been genetically modified to infect only cancer cells. When an oncolytic adenovirus infects a cancer cell, it replicates itself so much that it kills the cancer cell.

LOAd703, the agent being tested in this trial, has been modified to also include genes that stimulate the immune system. Participants will have the LOAd703 virus directly injected into their tumors.

Standard Chemotherapy

All participants receive standard chemotherapy with gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel, along with the experimental agent. Gemcitabine acts on two fronts to cause cell death. One reduces the number of proteins available to make DNA; the other shortens the DNA strands. Nab-paclitaxel inhibits cell division and promotes cell death.

Because LOAd703 is an experimental treatment, participants will be closely monitored throughout the trial.

We encourage you to consult your physicians for clinical trials that may be right for you. The website provides more details about this trial as well as many others. You can visit the EmergingMed Trial Finder for a listing of all active pancreatic cancer clinical trials.

Learn more about how viruses are being used in cancer treatment research by reading the article “Overcoming Challenges to Vaccine Immunotherapy.”

What new treatments and clinical trials are available to me?

Learn more