Instead of suppressing blood circulation going into the tumor, researchers are looking into using this pathway for treatment.
“When you cut off a tumour’s blood supply, it often becomes more aggressive”, said Prof. Jim Petrik, lead author of the study. “We developed an approach where you only kill off the dysfunctional blood vessels. The result is a smaller, calmer tumour with a good blood supply. Once you have established an effective vascular system, you can use that system to get treatment to the tumour”.
High chances of relapse coupled with reduced survival rates (can go as low as 20% for advanced cases) make ovarian cancer one of the biggest medical problems worldwide. Little progress has been made over the last four decades and this particular type of malignancy warranted some much-needed attention.
The study details how pruning the vessels prior to introducing an oncolytic virus produced remarkable results. Smaller, but with an improved flow, the new system became more effective at delivering the treatment.
“Using this combination of treatment, we saw the tumour regress from an advanced state, but even more importantly we eradicated the spread of the cancer cells. With this type of cancer, the tumour will grow in the ovary to a large size and then typically spread to the abdomen, causing perforation of the gut or sepsis. Women die from the metastatic nature of the disease, not from the tumour”, noted Dr. Petrik.
This procedure could help other treatments that are delivered through the vascular system, including chemotherapy. “What we are working on has never been done before, and it has the potential to make a significant impact on effective treatment”.