Back to theodicy and David's theories: using good viruses (The nature of a \'Creator\')

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 29, 2021, 19:12 (212 days ago) @ David Turell

To fight cancer tumors:

"Researchers from the Laboratory of Oncolytic-Virus-Immuno-Therapeutics (LOVIT) at the LIH Department of Oncology (DONC) are working on the development of novel anticancer strategies based on oncolytic viruses, 'good' viruses that can specifically infect, replicate in and kill cancer cells. In particular, the LOVIT team elucidated the mechanism through which the H-1PV cancer-destroying virus can attach to and enter cancer cells, thereby causing their lysis and death. At the heart of this process lie laminins, and specifically laminin γ1, a family of proteins on the surface of a cancer cell to which this virus binds, and which therefore act as the 'door' through which the virus enters the cells. The findings, which were published in the prestigious international journal Nature Communications, carry significant implications for the advancement of virus-based anticancer strategies and for the prediction of a patient's response to this innovative therapeutic approach.

"Oncolytic viruses, such as the rat virus H-1PV, have the ability to selectively infect and kill tumor cells, inducing their lysis and stimulating an anticancer immune response, without however harming normal healthy tissues. Despite their notable clinical potential, their use as a standalone treatment does not currently result in complete tumor regression, mainly due to the varying degree of patient sensitivity and responsiveness. It is therefore important to be able to identify patients whose tumors display genetic characteristics that make them vulnerable to the virus and who are thus most likely to benefit from this novel anticancer therapy.

"'In this context, we sought to elucidate the features of host cancer cells that enable oncolytic viruses to effectively infect and destroy them, focusing specifically on the factors required for cell attachment and entry," says Dr. Antonio Marchini, leader of LOVIT and corresponding author of the publication.

"Using a technique known as RNA interference, the research team progressively 'switched off' close to 7,000 genes of cervical carcinoma cells to detect those that negatively or positively modulate the infectious capacity of H-1PV. They thus identified 151 genes and their resulting proteins as activators and 89 as repressors of the ability of H-1PV to infect and destroy cancer cells. The team specifically looked at those genes that coded for proteins localized on the cell surface, in order to characterize their role in determining virus docking and entry. They found that a family of proteins called laminins, and particularly laminin γ1, play a crucial role in mediating cell attachment and penetration. Indeed, deactivating the corresponding LAMC1 gene in glioma, cervical, pancreatic, colorectal and lung carcinoma cells resulted in a significant reduction in virus cell binding and uptake, and in increased cancer cell resistance to virus-induced death. A similar effect was observed when switching off the LAMB1 gene encoding the laminin β1 protein.


"'These observations indicate that elevated laminin expression is associated with poor patient prognosis and survival in a variety of tumors, including gliomas and glioblastoma. The encouraging fact, however, is that cancers displaying high laminin levels are more susceptible to being infected and destroyed by the H-1PV virus and that patients with these tumors are therefore more likely to be responsive to this therapy," adds Dr. Marchini.

"These findings could lead to the classification of cancer patients according to their individual laminin expression levels, thereby acting as a biomarker that predicts their sensitivity and responsiveness to H-1PV-based anticancer therapies. This will in turn allow the design of more efficient clinical trials with reduced costs and approval times and, ultimately, the development of enhanced combinatorial treatments to tangibly improve patient outcomes."

Comment: It must be remembered, in God's creation there are both good and bad viruses, and we have God-given brains to learn how to use them. And think of bacteriophages, viruses that kill bacteria.

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