Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men (+/-219,000 per year) in the US. According to Dr Elankurmaran Subbiah, the use of poultry viruses as cancer therapy poses no threat to humans and several other oncolytic viruses are currently being explored to treat cancer.
Subbiah is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) at Virginia Tech. His work is the first to alter Newcastle disease through a reverse genetic system to target prostate cancer specifically.
Subbiah and his co-investigator, Dr Siba K. Samal, associate dean, University of Maryland campus, received a US$113,250 grant for their ongoing work using a genetically modified version of ND to treat prostate cancer in humans. In the current investigation, Subbiah and his associates are altering the fusion protein of ND to replicate only in the presence of prostate specific antigen (PSA), which is found exclusively in cancerous prostate cells.