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Cancer-fighting viruses win U.S.A. FDA approval

On 27 October 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Amgen®’s genetically engineered virus called talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC), brand named IMLYGIC™, to treat melanoma skin cancer.

Engineered oncolytic herpesvirus’ (oHSV) kill cancer cells by infecting the cancer cells, reproducing, and exploding from the cancer cell, thereby killing the cancer cell.  In essence, the therapy creates a cold-sore in the cancer.

As an immunotherapy, this oncolytic virus provokes an immune response against melanoma cancer.  It is the first treatment of its kind to be approved for use in the United States.  This now provides a pathway for an entire new class of therapies.

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