Researchers at Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center have found a new way to treat advanced melanoma using the herpes simplex 1 virus.
The genetically modified virusta, limogene laherparepvec, or T-VEC, invades and kills cancer cells by stimulating the body’s immune system. The virus does not harm healthy cells or cause patients to develop cold sores.
Dr. Jason Chesney, deputy director of the cancer center, worked with a team of international scientists to carry out clinical trials and found that patients with advanced melanoma had improved survival.
He said traditional approaches, such as chemotherapy, for advanced cancers are non-curative and only suppress the growth of tumors.
“When we can activate the immune system and cause a tumor to shrink those responses, the shrinkage is durable. It lasts for years and frequently for a lifetime,” he said.