Major Breakthrough In Cancer Treatment

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Jeevan Robinson

Release Date

Friday, September 2, 2011


MNI Alive has learnt via the Nature Journal, of a fundamental medical breakthrough in the treatment of cancer. According to a report in the journal, an engineered virus, injected into the blood, can selectively target cancer cells throughout the body.

Researchers are remaining cautious but from their trials on 23 cancer patients, they can reveal that the tested virus attacked only cancer tumors and left the healthy tissue in tact.

Commenting on the initial positive results, Prof John Bell who us the Lead Researcher in these tests by the University of Ottawa, said: We are very excited because this is the first time in medical history that a viral therapy has been shown to consistently and selectively replicate in cancer tissue after intravenous infusion in humans.

Intravenous delivery is crucial for cancer treatment because it allows us to target tumors throughout the body as opposed to just those that we can directly inject.

Looking at the future implications, researchers have said that the results so far gathered could one day truly transform cancer therapy as using viruses as conducted during the University of Ottawa's tests showed real promise.

Professor Nick Lemoine of Cancer Research UK speaking on the breakthrough news said, Viruses that multiply in just tumor cells avoiding healthy cells are showing real promise as a new biological approach to target hard-to-treat cancers.

This new study is important because it shows that a virus previously used safely to vaccinate against smallpox in millions of people can now be modified to reach cancers through the bloodstream even after cancer has spread widely through the patient's body.

It is particularly encouraging that responses were seen even in tumors like mesothelioma, a cancer which can be particularly hard to treat.

It is important to note that the tests so far do not indicate that the virus developed cured cancer as the trial test were designed to test the safety of administering the virus. Scientists are however of the view that the virus developed further could be used to deliver treatments directly to cancerous cells in high dosage.

Using viruses to attack cancers is not a new concept, but they have needed to be injected directly into tumors in order to evade the immune system.

According to Professor Bell, the research is still in the very early stages. I believe that some day, viruses and other biological therapies could truly transform our approach for treating cancer. Said Prof Bell.

Photo Credit to NAOC

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