An engineered version of the common cold virus could indicate within days, rather than weeks or months, whether treatment has halted the spread of prostate cancer, according to a report in Nature Medicine (2008;14:882-888).
Lily Wu, MD, PhD, and collaborators at the Jonsson Cancer Center in Los Angeles successfully used the virus to deliver a protein payload to prostate cancer cells. Noninvasive positron emission tomography then located the payload and thus was able to detect metastases in the pelvic lymph nodes of mice.
If validated, the new technique would mean oncologists would know in a matter of days how patients are responding to therapy, according to the researchers. Metastasis would be detected at an earlier and more treatable stage.
Patients not benefiting from treatment would be spared additional toxic treatments.