Local start-up getting attention for developing cancer treatment - KMOV.com

Local start-up getting attention for developing cancer treatments

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St. Louis start-up company Unleash Immuno Oncolytics is developing viruses that are specific for fighting cancer. Credit: KMOV St. Louis start-up company Unleash Immuno Oncolytics is developing viruses that are specific for fighting cancer. Credit: KMOV
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

A local start-up company is putting St. Louis on the map by developing a cure for cancer.

St. Louis start-up company Unleash Immuno Oncolytics is developing viruses that are specific for fighting cancer.

“Cancer is enormously adaptable and it evolves to grow and progress, and one of those abilities is to confound our immune system,” said Dr. David Curiel with Washington University School of Medicine.

When cancer outsmarts your immune system, the viruses would basically reverse that, kicking your immune system into gear to attack the cancerous cells and get rid of them.

“We are hoping to make these viruses so smart that they have the ability for specificity with reduced toxicity,” said Curiel. 

The treatment is not as harsh on the body as radiation or chemotherapy. Unleash just attracted a $3 million investment from a Japanese pharmaceutical company.

“Global capital from places like Japan is a game changer for St. Louis and will help turn ideas, bring them down the pipeline to the point where you can truly help change people’s lives,” said Donn Rubin, President and CEO of BioSTL.

Unleash is currently working on a virus for ovarian cancer as well as a virus for cancer that has metastasized or spread to other parts of the body.

Unleash says it will likely take two or three years to get through the initial trial periods and then will hopefully attract more pharmaceutical companies to join them in improving patients’ lives.

Bio-Generator, an investor in the St. Louis area, also supports Unleash. Bio-Generator is an investment arm of BioSTL-which is a leader in bioscience research and commercialization.

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