Thursday, September 1, 2011

Promising Anti-cancer Virus

An engineered virus, injected into the blood, can selectively target cancer cells throughout the body in what researchers have labeled a medical first.

According to the journal Nature, in a small trial on 23 patients, the virus attacked only tumours, leaving the healthy tissue alone. Researchers said the findings could one day "truly transform" therapies.

Using viruses to attack cancers is not a new concept, but they have needed to be injected directly into tumours in order to evade the immune system.
Scientists modified the vaccinia virus, which is more famous for being used to develop a smallpox vaccine.

The virus, named JX-594, is dependent upon a chemical pathway, common in some cancers, in order to replicate was injected at different doses into the blood of 23 patients with cancers which had spread to multiple organs in the body.