Revolutionary discovery: herpes virus destroys cancer cells

UK scientists have found the first evidence that the new way to fight cancer by using a genetically engineered virus is useful for patients, which could be a first step toward the development of new drugs in the next decade.

Specialists of the Royal Marsden Hospital and Institute of Cancer Research in the UK confirmed that the condition of patients with melanoma who were treated with modified herpes virus, significantly improved.


In some patients, the improvement was remarkable. Although they all had aggressive malignant melanoma which could not be operated, those who were given the virus treatment at an earlier stage of the disease live an average of 20 months longer than those who did not get the drug.

In other patients the results were modest, but since it is the first study of its kind, researchers are hoping that in the future will be much better.

The method known as viral immunotherapy works by attacking cancer cells with genetically modified virus, so it can not be spread to healthy cells.

The virus continues to multiply inside cancer cells and destroy them from insade. At the same time, other genetic modification of the virus stimulate a reaction of the immune system to attack and destroy the tumor.

Other forms of immunotherapy that use the antibodies already shown good results. It is hoped that thise two treatments will be used in combination.

Kevin Harrington, lead researcher and professor of biological therapy of cancer, believes that this type of treatment could become available for one year in many countries.

“I hope that this is the first sign that in the future we will have many ways to fight with cancer,” he said.

The study, wich is published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, included 436 patients. More than 16 percent of them responded to treatment after six months, compared with 2.1 percent of those who received the control treatment.

Some have responded well and after three years of receiving the treatment.

Revolutionary discovery: herpes virus destroys cancer cells Reviewed by The Riddler on 9:51:00 AM Rating: 5

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