You've probably heard the ancient proverb, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." That very philosophy, the uniting of two opposing forces against a third opponent, is now playing an important role in the field of oncolytic virus research. Since the early 1990s, scientists like Robert Martuza, MD, former MGH Chief of Neurosurgery, have been working to turn otherwise harmful viruses into specialized treatments that work with the immune system to target and destroy cancer cells.
The first viral-based therapeutic for patients with cancer was approved by the FDA in 2015, after decades of research. Martuza hopes this will pave the way for more viral-based treatments for different cancers, as he and his colleagues continue to work on improving its effectiveness.
This advancement comes at an altogether revolutionary time in cancer treatment, joining the ranks of other new and innovative treatment strategies like gene-altering therapies, the first of which was recently unanimously recommended for approval by an FDA panel.
Read the entire Partners HealthCare INNOVATION Newsletter here: Innovation Newsletter Fall 2017.