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Cancer-Killing Viruses Could Lead to Breakthrough

Doctors at Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center have made what might amount to a significant breakthrough in the fight against cancer. These new cancer-killing viruses are much needed for patients with a type of brain tumour called glioblastoma, but doctors are facing a problem with this new treatment.

Immune system

The new cancer-killing viruses are safe for patients but are less effective than expected. This is due to the patient’s immune system which is fighting the treatment. The findings, which have been published in the Nature Medicine journal, show that in tests the patient’s immune systems have responded to the virus as they would do to an infection. Specialised immune cells move to attack and ultimately eliminate the cancer-killing virus. At the moment the body’s natural defences are counteracting and breaking down the therapeutic virus before it can destroy the tumour.

Blocking receptors

Trials have been carried out that suggest a possible answer. When doctors blocked the receptors of mice with brain tumours they lived longer. Doctors expect this next step to be trialled on human glioblastoma cancer patients soon.

Funding

The trials are on-going and offer some hope for all cancer suffers. Funding for the work is coming from various institutes in America including the US National Institute of Health and the National Center for Research Resources, amongst others.

Final word

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center isn’t the only institute working on cancer-killing viruses. Professor Magnus Essand at Uppsala University in Sweden is also working on a virus that can kill cancer cells. As with the Ohio State University’s virus, the Uppsala Virus is at an early stage and hasn’t gone to trial on human subjects. But laboratory results are creating interest in the medical world and there’s a hope that a breakthrough could be announced soon.

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