Établir, comprendre et exploiter l'effet de l'oestrogène sur la thérapie du cancer du sein par les virus oncolytiques


Marie-Claude Bourgeois-Daigneault

Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal [CHUM]


Domaine : cancer

Programme Chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 1

Concours 2019-2020


Fondation québécoise du cancer du sein

Our research is focused on improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses for breast cancer treatment. Oncolytic viruses are viruses that infect and kill cancers without damaging normal organs. They can be administered to cancer patients intravenously to kill both the primary tumor mass as well as the metastases. Oncolytic viruses are considered a promising treatment for breast cancer, the most common cancer amongst women. Breast cancers are often disseminated to several organs and there is an urgent need for new therapeutic options for the most advanced and aggressive forms of the disease. The results obtained from the various clinical trials testing these viruses in patients show promising results, but not all patients enter remission after treatment.

The ability to predict which patients would benefit from oncolytic viruses, and the creation of new viruses for which all cancers would be responsive, are priorities. Estrogen levels vary from patient to patient depending on their sex, age and life habits. We have results showing that estrogen has the capacity to improve the activity of oncolytic viruses, which could explain, at least partially, the different responses observed in patients treated with oncolytic viruses. The experiments described in this project will 1- establish the effect of estrogen on oncolytic viruses; 2- determine the molecular mechanism of how estrogen affects the viruses and; 3- generate new and improved oncolytic viruses.

Our findings will allow for a better selection of the patients to treat with oncolytic viruses and determine if some drugs that are commonly used for the treatment of breast cancer and that interfere with estrogen should be avoided during the time of the virus treatment. Also, the new oncolytic viruses that we will develop will allow a wider range of cancers to benefit from the positive combination with estrogen.