Our measles virus technology has several characteristics that makes it a strong platform for developing multiple oncolytic virus therapies. This simple RNA paramyxovirus lends itself to modification, possesses a unique intercellular fusion mechanism for killing cancer cells and inducing immunogenic danger signals required for anti-cancer immune activity. We utilize a weakened strain of measles similar to those used to safely vaccinate more than one billion people over the past 50 years. Oncolytic measles virus can be administered either intratumorally or intravesically. For patients with high anti-measles antibody levels, the oncolytic virus may be administered via carrier cells that transport the treatment to tumor sites thus protecting the virus from pre-existing anti-measles antibodies.
Using proprietary genetic programming technologies, Measles-NIS is designed for precision targeting of cancer cells. The virus is further altered to encode the sodium-iodide symporter gene to enable monitoring and validation of virus delivery and infection of tumor cells. Many patients have anti-measles immunity from childhood vaccinations, so Measles-NIS can be transported inside carrier cells to the site of tumor to avoid detection by the immune system.
How Measles-NIS Kills Cancer
Measles-NIS is administered by direct injection into the tumor or local regionally for the treatment of tumors. It works to fight cancer in two ways. First, it infects and kills cancer cells and spreads to neighboring cancer cells, fusing them together in a syncytia formation that is not viable. The direct-fusion mechanism enables Measles-NIS to continue replicating – and spreading to more cancer cells, increasing the bystander killing. Second, the cancer cells killed by Measles-NIS provide the necessary signals that trigger T cell mediated, anti-tumor responses that destroy additional cancer cells.
Measles-NIS is currently being evaluated in Phase 1-2 clinical trials in multiple cancer indications.