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The University of New Mexico Cancer Center is among a handful of institutions nationwide participating in a Phase 3 clinical trial studying a novel treatment for men with newly diagnosed, localized prostate cancer.
In most cases, prostate cancer is detected early and eradicated. However, even with early detection, the cancer returns in up to 30 percent of patients. The trial will study whether combining this innovative treatment with standard radiation therapy will produce an immune response that will kill cancerous cells throughout the body and decrease the likelihood of the tumor ever coming back.
In this study, men receive three injections of an engineered virus directly into the prostate followed by 14 days of oral doses of a medication called valacyclovir. The injection is a viral vehicle, a virus that can’t make more of itself, that delivers a specific gene into the cancer cell. Once inside, the gene converts the valacyclovir into an active form causing death of the tumor cell. This process also generates a vaccine response against the cancer that can detect and kill microscopic cancer cells wherever they lurk, helping to prevent the cancer from returning.
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