A study at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine has identified a chicken-killing virus as a promising treatment for prostate cancer in humans. Researchers have discovered that a genetically engineered Newcastle disease virus, which harms chickens but not humans, kills prostate cancer cells of all kinds, including hormone-resistant cancer cells. The work of Dr. Elankumaran Subbiah, an associate professor of virology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology at Virginia Tech, along with Dr. Siba Samal, associate dean and chairman of the University of Maryland’s Department of Veterinary Medicine, and Shobana Raghunath, a graduate student in Subbiah’s laboratory, appears in the April 2013 issue of the Journal of Virology. “This potential treatment is available for immediate pre-clinical and clinical trials, but these are typically not done at the university level,” Subbiah said. “We are looking for commercial entities that are interested in licensing the technology for human clinical trials and treatment. Newcastle disease virus has yet to be tested as a treatment for prostate cancer in patients.” About one in six men will develop prostate cancer. Patients typically receive hormone treatments or chemotherapy, both of which have adverse side effects. Subbiah hopes that the development of new treatment methodologies will not only better fight prostate cancer, but also lessen the side effects commonly associated with hormone treatments and chemotherapy. Newcastle disease virus affects domestic and wild bird species, especially chickens, and is one of the most economically important viruses to the poultry industry.