More than 100 types of cancer exist, and while some have become readily treatable in the last few decades, many remain resistant to traditional treatment methods. Cancer cells are particularly tricky to fight due to their fast growth and mutating abilities.
Certain cancers pose further challenges due to location or early resistance to treatment, often taking traditional forms of treatment like chemotherapies and radiation off the table.
Now, oncolytic adenovirus treatments, in which viruses are used to specifically target and kill cancer and tumor cells, may provide a ray of hope for patients battling treatment-resistant, late-stage cancers. Like gene therapies, oncolytic adenovirus treatments target cells directly, altering them from the inside out in an effort to eliminate tumors and help cancer patients to heal.
What is Gene Therapy?
Gene therapy involves the delivery of nucleic acids to a patient’s cells in order to fight disease. Until just a few decades ago, a person’s genetic status was thought to be fixed, and treatment options were designed only to address the symptoms of genetic diseases rather than the underlying cause.
Gene therapy has uncovered the opportunity for physicians to explore treating genetic diseases from the inside out, altering the disease-causing gene rather than simply providing symptom mitigation.
In essence, gene therapy allows for a patient’s defective gene to be corrected, treating disease by eliminating the source of the problem. Though a relatively new treatment option, gene therapies are available for the treatment of a variety of inherited diseases including hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, retinal degeneration, and so on.
In order to deliver nucleic acids or other genetic materials to patient cells, molecular biologists use a delivery vehicle referred to as a “vector”. Viruses are especially effective in transporting genetic material and can be programmed to infect cells broadly or target specific diseased cells like in the case of cancer treatment.
What is Adenovirus?
Adenoviruses are a family of viruses known to cause a number of illnesses from the common cold to life-threatening conditions. When used in gene therapy, adenoviruses are altered to lose their disease-causing components while maintaining certain viral and infectious properties.
Adenoviruses are unenveloped, meaning they lack a protective lipid bilayer, making them especially adept at transporting through cell membranes and attaching to the host. Once within the host cell, adenoviruses are resourceful, using the host’s own resources to replicate.
Oncolytic viruses are viruses that “preferentially replicate in tumor cells, inducing immunogenic cell death, and [initiating] host anti-tumor immunity.” Oncolytic adenovirus (Ad) is one such virus now being used in exploratory cancer treatments for advanced head, neck, and chest cancers. Oncolytic adenoviruses act by infecting and replicating within tumor cells, rapidly reducing them in size, preventing further tumor spread, and potentially creating cancer and tumor cell antigens.
Though not ready for widespread human testing just yet, oncolytic adenovirus therapies could be the future of cancer treatment. Not only could oncolytic adenoviruses target and selectively destroy refractory cancers, but this oncolytic adenovirus treatment could also result in long-lasting cancer immunity for the affected individual.
Though anti-cancer immunity may sound like a good thing, some evidence suggests that this immune response may make oncolytic adenovirus less effective when used on its own, and should instead be combined with other immune therapies.
How OnePointe Solutions is Advancing Scientific Research
Every researcher knows that having the right tools and working environment are key to success in the lab, but lab designers seem to be a little late in discovering this basic fact. At OnePointe Solutions, we help to design, build, and install custom lab furniture that is specially designed to fit the needs of your lab and the researchers working in it.
Our high-quality lab furniture helps to fuel vital scientific research and discovering in laboratories and research facilities around the nation.
We have created furniture for labs in virtually every industry including pharmaceutical and drug testing and medical research labs. Our furniture can be made with the nature of your work in mind, so whether you work with infectious diseases or in food testing, you’ll be sure to find the perfect option for your unique needs. For our clients handling viruses, biological materials, and infectious agents, we offer all the essentials like biosafety cabinets, anti-microbial casework, laboratory workbenches, cleanroom design, and much more.
We take the job of furnishing your lab seriously, and work hard to create solutions that our clients find they can’t live without. Our design process is hands on from top to bottom, starting with an on-site visit from our team who will work closely with you to create custom 3D renderings of your space. Once we understand the needs of your lab, we’ll work with you to choose furniture configurations, materials, optional accessories, and anything else you need to fuel your work.