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Anti cancer virotherapy well tolerated in first human administration, research finds

(Banff, Canada March 14, 2005) An international medical conference here heard that an Australian developed anti-cancer therapy based on the use of a common cold virus to control cancer cell growth has begun safety testing in human subjects.

The research was presented to the third International Meeting on Replicating Oncolytic Virus Therapeutics, on Friday 11 March by Newcastle University associate professor, Darren Shafren.

The technology is licensed to Australian Stock Exchange listed biotechnology company, Psiron Limited (ASX:PSX).

Professor Shafren has previously tested this virotherapy on cancer tumours in mice and this is the first testing in humans. Two patients only were approved to receive this virotherapy.

Professor Shafren reported to the conference that this research team had injected a single dose of Coxsackie A21 (CVA21) virus directly into the advanced melanoma tumours of these patients with end stage disease.

Both patients had many sites of spread melanoma tumours and injected and non-injected tumours were subsequently removed from the patients.

Professor Shafren's group observed no "systemic toxic effects or localised inflammation" as a result of the injections of the viral material and basic blood chemistry and liver enzyme levels remain unchanged in the these two patients.

Professor Shafren told conference delegates that these findings suggested that administration of a single dose of CVA21 directly into a cancerous tumour was well tolerated.

"Administration of CVA21 may be of potential therapeutic benefit in controlling the spread of melanoma," Professor Shafren said.

CVA21 is one of a small group of naturally occurring rather than genetically modified viruses the Shafren team has been investigating as potential therapies for different hard to treat malignancies including melanoma and ovarian cancer.

These viruses occur naturally and routinely in the community causing m
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Contact: David Sheon
dsheon@sciwords.com
202 518 6321
SciWords
14-Mar-2005


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