New studies found that adding a specific enzyme may make destruction of cancer cells easier when using oncolytic viruses, especially in brain tumors.
Chondroitinase, the enzyme in question, assists killing cancer cells by moving through various proteins that may prevent movement into and throughout cancer tumors, researchers explain.
When testing the effectiveness of the enzyme-loaded virus on animals, survival rates increased by more than 50 percent, and, in some cases, completely destroyed cancerous tumors.
The findings can be found in the Clinical Cancer Research journal.
For the first time ever, this study may show how using a virus and enzyme combination can more effectively destroy cancer cells than by using a virus alone.
This specific enzyme comes from Proteus vulgaris — bacteria found in the intestines. It clears out sugar chains that occupy space between cells. Effective removal of these sugar chains allows the virus to spread entirely throughout the tumor.
For the study, eight mice were injected with human glioblastoma cells — the most dangerous brain cancer. After development of tumors, the mice were then treated with the enzyme/virus combination. Averaging survival rates of 28 days, two mice had no sign of a tumor after 80 days. Mice treated with the virus without the enzyme only survived 16 days.
Researchers explain this study as a great tool for indicating the addition of the enzyme to the virus as a treatment method for specific cancers can be significantly more effective than just using the enzyme itself.