“How Reovirus Kills Cancer Cells” by Netera Alliance

  • ©  Netera Alliance



    How Reovirus Kills Cancer Cells

Company / Institution / Agency:

  • Netera Alliance


    This collaboration joins ground-breaking medical research and a talented animation team to visualize a complex biochemical process that has enormous social impact.

    In November 1998, researchers at the University of Calgary reported in the journal Science that reovirus has been shown to selectively kill a wide variety of human cancer cell lines in mouse models. The reovirus is a naturally occurring virus that is believed to cause mild infections of the upper respiratory and gastroinestinal tract in humans.

    Researchers discovered that the benign human reovirus infects and kills cancer cells with an activated Ras pathway. Ras is an important component of a pathway controlling normal growth and differentiation of a cell. When it mutates, Ras may account for 30-40 percent of all human tumors. Researchers believe that targeting this mutation could have broad potential in the treatment of many cancers. The University of Calgary team successfully demonstrated that the virus could kill human can-cer cells derived from breast, prostate, pancreatic, and brain tumors.

    In the fall of 1999, a phase I/II clinical trial will examine the use of reovirus involving up to 18 patients who have not responded to standard cancer treatment. The main purpose of the clinical trial will be to assess any possible adverse effects or toxicity of reovirus.

Additional Contributors:

    Producer: Douglas Bowman

    Collaborator: David Rittenhouse, Denis Gadbois

    Narrator: Debra Kurtz

    Cancer Research Team: Patrick Lee, Matthew Coffey, Peter Forsyth, Peter Strong

Animation / Video Overview: