Summary: Researchers in the College of Medicine are work-
ing to genetically modify poxviruses that would target
and destroy tumors. Not only could the results reap a
new weapon against an evasive and brutal disease, in
the long term they could lead to the ability to cus-
tomize viruses for a patient's immune system.
"There certainly may come a day where we're able to
predict which virus will work best for patients by look-
ing at how they are immune deficient," said Joanna
Shisler, College of Medicine faculty member professor
of microbiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-
Champaign. She is collaborating with other Illinois fac-
ulty, including Edward Roy, College of Medicine
researcher and professor of pathology, and Amy
MacNeill, professor of veterinary medicine.
Shisler's work provides the foundation for the
research, focusing on the underlying biology of a virus.
As viruses have evolved, they have developed sophisti-
cated mechanisms for taking over a cell and evading
immune response. In particular, she is studying NF-