Reprogrammed Virus Offers New Hope To Cancer Treatment

Researchers from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine has made significant progress in reprogram a type of virus to kill cancer cells but not to attack normal cells. This offers new hope to cancer treatment.

Reprogrammed viruses have already being used in gene therapy procedures to treat a range of diseases, demonstrating they can be trained from being life-threatening into potentially lifesaving agents. The weakness is that the reprogramed viruses aren’t able to selectively recognise only the cancer cells and would also infect healthy cells, resulting in unwanted side effects.

Researchers from Cardiff University completely redesigned a common and well-studied respiratory virus, so that the virus can no longer attach to non-cancerous cells but instead seeks out a specific marker protein called αvβ6 integrin, which is unique to certain cancer cells, and then allowing it to invade them.

Once the virus enters the cancer cell it uses the cell’s machinery to replicate, producing many thousands of copies of itself, prior to bursting the cell and thereby destroying it in the process. The newly released viral copies can then bind and infect neighbouring cancer cells and repeat the same cycle, eventually removing the tumour mass altogether. The virus also activates the body’s natural immune system, helping it to recognise and destroy the malignant cells.

The research was carried out in a laboratory, using mice with ovarian cancer, and has not yet reached clinical trials. The next step is to test the technique with other cancers, with a view to starting clinical trials in five years’ time.

 

 

 

 

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.