Viruses could help in Treating Cancer Cells

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It looks as that chemotherapy may be going to say goodbye for treating cancer cells since there is a new way to treat cancer.  The new treatment is safer compared to any  cancer treatment before.  Researchers found out that by using virus, the cancer cells can be eliminated.

The study found out that the virus only replicates itself on the tumor cells and does not reproduce on normal cells.

Senior scientist at Ottawa Hospital Research Institute in Canada, John Bell says the result shows a different approach to treating cancer, something that have not been done before.  It is much selective compared to other ways of treating cancer thus it is much safer.  The new treatment is going to be helpful for metastatic cancers – cancers widely spread throughout the body.

The study was only in the initial stages as there are only 23 participants in the study. Researchers just want to find out if the new treatment is safe and they are not aiming for eliminating the cancer cells.

The researchers plan to conducts a few more tests, which would determine if the new treatment is better than the old ways in dealing with cancer.  Bell admitted that they are going to need more trials to know if the new treatment could do treat the patients’ disease.

According to Bell, cancer cells are much weaker than normal cells, which make it more vulnerable to viral attacks.  For the study, the researchers used a different dosage of weakened smallpox virus.

Once inside the tumor cells, the germ takes over and tries to reproduce itself.  The virus acts as a parasite for the infected cells and kills the cancer cells.

Smallpox virus is not the only viral study to kill the cancer cells there  is other virus  tested.  However, none is successful in using the patients’ bloodstream to reach the cancer cells.

In the new study, the patients  given with several doses of virus in their blood.  The patients’ cancer cells were not responsive to the earlier treatment.

Right after eight to 10 days, the researchers found out that the virus has infected only those cells infected by the cancer.  The researcher used an engineered virus that carries a gene that could be easily detected inside the lab.

Tissues from seven of the eight patients who received the maximum doses showed that the virus was duplicating in their tumors and not in normal tissues, as said by the researcher. Also, six of these patients showed decrease or calmed down the tumors.