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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Lee Health is starting to reschedule appointments, surgeries, and procedures that were delayed during the pandemic. You can be confident that we will provide the most exceptional care in the safest environment. Learn More

Can a Virus Help Fight Pancreatic Cancer? - Oncology

It’s a difficult reality that surgical oncologist Dr. Mark Bloomston is working to change. “Pancreatic cancer gets bad press for a good reason; it’s so rarely curable.” Studies show Florida has the third-highest incidence of pancreatic cancer in the country—which is why a new clinical trial at the Regional Cancer Center is focused on treating patients close to home. “This is a trial that I worked with a company many years ago in the early stages of the development of this virus,” said Dr. Mark Bloomston, a surgical oncologist on the medical staff of Lee Health. That virus—is the Herpes virus. “What this is, is the adenovirus, just like you would have for the common cold that has been genetically altered. It’s had a gene inserted from the Herpes virus, so now we can inject that virus directly into a tumor. It can find a cancer cell, incorporate inside a cancer cell, and then we treat the patient with anti-herpes medication,” he said. The hope--is that the anti-herpes medication would kill both the virus and the cell and stimulate the immune system. “This is all an attempt to try to reintroduce tumors to the immune system that are otherwise hidden for whatever reason,” said Dr. Bloomston. A clinical trial that can help patients, who qualify, undergo surgery—which offers the best possible cure for pancreatic cancer. View More Health Matters video segments at Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care. Visit