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admin 08.11.2014

Federal health officials have approved a first-of-a-kind drug that uses the herpes virus to infiltrate and destroy deadly skin cancer tumors. The drug, Imlygic (em-LYE'-gick), is injected directly into tumor tissue, where it uses herpes as a Trojan horse to slip past and rupture cancer cells. Despite the drug's groundbreaking approach, FDA officials stressed it has not been shown to extend life. Regulators stressed that Imlygic had no effect on melanoma that had spread to the brain, lungs or other internal organs. Amgen said patients should be treated with the drug for at least six months, or until there are no more tumors left to treat. Doctors give an initial round of injections, followed by a second dose three weeks later and then regular injections every two weeks thereafter. Over the years, scientists have explored altering various viruses, including measles and polio, to combat several types of cancer, including brain tumors, breast cancers and others.
The FDA has approved a string of new medicines dubbed immunotherapies, or immune-oncology drugs, that harness the body's immune system to help attack cancer cells. Melanoma was long considered one of the toughest cancers to treat, with few drug options available up until a few years ago. Federal health officials have approved a first-of-a-kind drug that uses the herpes virus to destroy deadly skin cancer tumors. The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis.
An Alzheimer's patient is seen sitting after a therapy session inside the Alzheimer foundation in Mexico City April 19, 2012.


People with Alzheimer's disease could soon use antiviral drugs to treat their condition, a new study suggests. Earlier studies already showed the link between neurologic conditions and the species of herpes virus. But the new study, published in the journal mBio, shows that Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) can infect and replicate in cultured and primary neurons. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found the viruses enriched in the cerebrospinal fluid and brain tissue of individuals with MS and Alzheimer's disease. The researchers have analysed the effect of the drug acyclovir, which can block EBV and related viruses, as a new therapeutic strategy for MS. The findings come from the analysis of effects of genetically modified viruses, expressing green fluorescent protein, to infected human neuroblastoma cells and primary human foetal neurons. Robertson said the findings indicate that viral infection of neurons could be linked with neuropathology, and the ability of gamma herpesviruses to infect neurons could provide a new model system to study viral life cycles. The drug combines a gene snippet meant to stimulate the immune system with a modified version of the herpes simplex virus — the kind that causes mouth cold sores. Instead, company studies showed that about 16 percent of patients injected with the drug saw their tumors shrink, compared with 2 percent of patients who took more conventional cancer drugs. The company estimates one course of treatment will cost about $65,000, depending on the length of treatment.
Meanwhile, the gene snippet churns out a protein to stimulate an immune response to kill melanoma cells in the tumor and elsewhere in the body. The drugs have brought some of the first significant advances in patient survival in many years for some cancer types, particularly lung cancer and melanoma.


Alzheimer's is a progressive, degenerative disease that robs people of memory, reasoning and the ability to communicate.
Scientists have found that certain species of herpes virus can potentially infect neurons and cause symptoms of brain disorders.
However, it has been assumed that these viruses, called gamma herpesviruses, can not infect neurons. These herpes viruses could potentially infect patients with Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) and cerebellar ataxia.
In addition, people with a history of infectious mononucleosis caused by EBV are at higher risk of developing MS. After 50 years of studying EBV, nobody had ever seen the virus in nerve cells,” said Professor Erle Robertson, director of the Tumour Virology Training Programme at the Abramson Cancer Centre. All three drugs work by blocking a protein found in certain tumors called PD-1, which inhibits the body's natural response to cancer cells. About 24 million people worldwide have the disease according to the World Health Organization.



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