Taking Maraba Virus into Clinical Trials as an Anti-Cancer Agent
Our lab first identified Maraba as an oncolytic virus in 2010 after testing many natural rhabdoviruses banked in the World Reference Center for Emerging Viruses at the University of Texas. We found that Maraba virus has particular utility for treating neuroblastoma, a predominantly childhood cancer that affects the sympathetic nervous system.
Since then, we have been working to refine Maraba virus as a cancer therapy. This has included incorporating new envelope proteins and payloads that activate the patient's own immune system against their tumour. We have now translated our oncolytic Maraba virus therapy into Phase I clinical trials in cancer patients, funded through the OICR. Find out more here.
Treating Rare Genetic Diseases with Oncolytic Vaccinia Virus
Vaccinia virus is a naturally effective agent for treating skin diseases. We have developed this oncolytic virus to treat xeroderma pigmentosum, a rare inherited genetic disorder with a very high rate of childhood mortality.
Our preliminary data in mouse models suggests that this virus will perform admirably in patients.
Targeting Brain Cancer with Farmington Virus
We identified Farmington virus as an oncolytic agent in 2010, and found that this virus has a naturally potent activity against brain cancer while simultaneously being safely tolerated in the intracranial space. This makes Farmington virus a very unusual - and unique! - rhabdovirus.
We have been working to develop Farmington virus as an oncolytic immune-stimulating vaccine to take forward into clinical trials for the treatment of the devastating brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). GBM patients currently have an average survival time of just 14 months with the current best standards-of-care available in the clinic. Clearly, new therapies are desperately needed for this disease.