Engineering a Virus that Infects Tumors: Dr. Tony Reid and the Cancer-Fighting Work of EpicentRx
Dr. Reid is Chief Scientific Officer and President of EpicentRx and discusses their groundbreaking work. He explains How viruses typically seek out specific cell types, How researchers at EpicentRx were able to engineer a virus to seek out cancer cells for infection, and When the public will be able to utilize this antitumor activity to fight cancer. Dr. Tony Reid obtained his PhD in biochemistry and his MD at Stanford and actually built the foundation of his present work during his graduate efforts there. He begins by explaining how viruses work. For example, adenoviruses have various manifestations that target certain cell types such as lung or gut cells. EpicentRx has taken that characteristic and engineered a virus to attack and kill cancer cells without harming other bodily cells. In addition, the virus alters the immune system so other cancer cells can be seen and treated effectively. Rather than using virus research to create antiviral medication, they've used it to create anticancer medication. Dr. Reid explains the process more closely, how after detecting molecular switches that told a virus to infect lung tissue, they knocked that signal out so it wouldn't be able to infect lung tissue, and ended up with a weakened virus. They went in and sequenced the virus and made very small, deliberate changes so it would infect cancer cells. He discusses the intricacies in more detail, the studies they've done, and says they've already gotten FDA approval and hope to release the medication and engage in antitumor activity this year. He finishes by addressing the coronavirus and says his company is actually working on an antiviral medication, more specifically a vaccine that will be successful for the general public but also for immune-suppressed and compromised individuals such as cancer patients. For more, see the company's website at http://www.epicentrx.com/.