The Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT), a non-profit based in Stamford, Connecticut, dedicated to funding breakthrough cancer gene therapy treatments, has had its funding pay off with a promising study on breast cancer coming out of The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Canada. The study suggests that a combination of two immunotherapies -- oncolytic viruses and checkpoint inhibitors -- could be much more successful than traditional treatments in fighting breast cancer and possibly other cancers. The study, which used mouse models, was published in the January 3, 2018 issue of Science Translational Medicine and was conducted by ACGT grantee, Dr. John Bell, and his research lab, in conjunction with Dr. Marie-Claude Bourgeois-Daigneault, lead author of the study and postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Bell's research group. The article is titled “Neoadjuvant Oncolytic Virotherapy Before Surgery Sensitizes Triple-Negative Breast Cancer to Immune Checkpoint Therapy.” Cancer immunotherapy has proven to be a powerful tool in fighting cancer and has revolutionized treatment for cancers such as melanoma and leukemia. Unfortunately though, other forms of cancer, and especially solid tumor cancers, have remained resistant. ACGT has a track record of funding innovative, breakthrough cancer treatments and was one of the initial funders for laboratory research and clinical trials of immunotherapy in support of Dr. Carl June's work at the University of Pennsylvania, where Dr. June’s team has been successfully treating relapsed pediatric leukemia with gene therapy. ACGT started funding cancer cell and gene therapies in the early 2000's when it was still deemed “risky” science.
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