Modified herpes virus destroys melanoma cells in phase 3 trial

A genetically engineered herpes virus was successfully used to treat advanced melanoma in a phase 3 clinical trial involving Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa as the lead accruer.

Melanoma cells

The modified form of the herpes simplex virus type-1, called T-VEC, was injected directly into a melanoma, killing the cancer cells and rallying the immune system against them. Patients in the trial who had inoperable stage III and stage IV melanomas lived almost twice as long (41 months on average) when injected with T-VEC therapy compared to earlier-stage melanoma patients using more traditional treatments (21.5 months on average).

UI oncologist and researcher Mohammed Milhem, MBBS, clinical professor of internal medicine, is a coauthor on the study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.