Ovarian Cancer National Trial: Could a Virus Prevent Cancer Recurrence?

For some women, it might be one virus well worth having. In fact, while it causes cold- or flu-like symptoms, the reovirus may help save lives.

And that’s what the gynecologic oncology research experts at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) mean to find out.

“We’ve found,” says David Cohn, MD, an OSUCCC – James gynecologic oncologist, “that this naturally occurring bug, which almost everyone has been exposed to at some point, has an affinity for attaching to – and attacking – ovarian cancer cells. That’s huge.

“So we initiated a clinical trial here at Ohio State that we have actually rolled out nationally.” The clinical trial is accruing patients.

“If what we are seeing is true,” Cohn explains, “this virus could be effective at killing ovarian cancer by reducing the chance of recurrence after treatment.”

For the patient, that means this novel treatment will not only help prevent ovarian cancer from returning but will also provide a form of cancer control that has very few symptoms because it doesn’t cause such traditional side effects of chemotherapy as severe nausea and hair loss.

Ovarian cancer strikes about 20,000 women in the United States every year, usually those who are post-menopausal. About 10 percent of the cases are hereditary. In the early stages, there are usually no symptoms, but as it advances, symptoms include abdominal bloating, abdominal pain and changes in bowel or urinary habits.

In addition to the reovirus trial, the OSUCCC – James is conducting other research studies for ovarian cancer prevention, early detection and treatments.

“Because there’s no routine cancer, it’s really important to track down the genetics of ovarian cancer to see if we can identify even better ways to treat this disease, cure more patients and prevent it from ever occurring,” Cohn says.


For more information on clinical trials at the OSUCCC – James, visit cancer.osu.edu or call The James Line at 800-293-5066.