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Researchers apply new technique to manipulate virus, make it a possible cancer treatment

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Purdue University researchers successfully eliminated the native infection preferences of a Sindbis virus engineered to target and kill cancer cells, a milestone in the manipulation of this promising viral vector.

"This virus had been known to be a good vector for delivering therapeutic cargo, however it naturally infected all kinds of cells, and these diversions would compete with what we were instructing it to target," said Richard Kuhn, the Gerald and Edna Mann Director of Purdue's Bindley Biosciences Center. "We have now overcome a major challenge by not only inserting a targeting molecule of our choice, but also successfully stripping the virus of its native entry preferences. This was a big step in unlocking the potential of developing this virus into a platform for both targeted drug delivery, where it would sneak drugs inside cancer cells, and oncolytic virotherapy, where the virus itself destroys cancer cells."

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