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CTRC enrolls first patients in novel phase II study for sarcoma -- living virus destroys cancer cell

SAN ANTONIO -- The Cancer Therapy & Research Center Institute for Drug Development, in collaboration with Oncolytics Biotech Inc., a biotechnology company, has enrolled the first two patients in a new Phase II clinical study for patients with various types of sarcomas that have metastasized to the lung. CTRC is one of only three sites in the United States, and the only in Texas, enrolling patients. The novel anti-cancer therapy, REOLYSIN, is a living virus, not a chemotherapy drug, that is toxic to cancer cells but not harmful to normal cells. This novel therapy, using a living virus, is the first of its kind available at CTRC. According to Monica Mita, MD, principal investigator at the CTRC Institute for Drug Development, REOLYSINs name was derived from the human reovirus, a mild virus that occurs naturally in the environment.

This novel therapy has shown success because the reovirus replicates in and destroys the cancer cells within the patients body, said Mita. Cancer cells have several molecular and genetic abnormalities. In normal, healthy cells, the reovirus is unable to reproduce because of an enzyme named PKR. The enzyme is suppressed in cancer cells, and therefore the reovirus can replicate in the cancer cell and kill it.

REOLYSIN typifies the true targeted therapy approach that seeks to use fundamental differences between cancer and normal cells as the basis for effective anti-cancer approaches and we are thus very excited about the this study, said Francis Giles, MD, director of the CTRC Institute for Drug Development.

Eligible patients are those who have a bone or soft tissue sarcoma that has spread to the lung and who are deemed by their physician to be unresponsive to or untreatable by standard therapies. These include patients with osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma family tumors, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, synovial sarcoma, fibrosarcoma and leiomyosarcoma.

The second patient to enroll in the st
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Contact: Jill. B. Byrd
jbyrd@ctrc.net
210-450-5550
Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC)
24-Jul-2007


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