Scientists have identified certain type of viruses that are killing the cancer cells, without causing damage the immune system. The research conducted so far promises results in several types of cancer.
Apparently a cancer cure is closer to the present moment than we would have thought. The latest scientific studies have shown that a certain virus is able to locate and attack only the cancerous cells in the body, avoiding harm to the overall functioning of the organism. Scientists believe that it is possible that the cancer-killing virus would replace chemotherapy.
More specifically, it is the common viruses, such as the reovirus, that target the cancer cells. There viruses are usually responsible for mild colds or stomach upsets. They also have the ability of stimulating the immune functions of the body to fight the tumors.
The use of these kind of “viral therapy” to treat cancer is still being tested, as it is a very new approach. The main challenge for the scientists is to figure out how to introduce the virus into the body, without alerting the immune system. For the tumors that can easily be reached with a needle, the virus can be injected directly into them. However, the treatment is not possible for the lung, liver, or pancreas tumors, that are located inside the body.
A team of researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), in UK, have injected the virus directly into the bloodstream, in 10 patients suffering from colorectal cancer. Amazingly, the immune system was not alerted. Four weeks after the five-dose viral treatment, it was observed that the virus has traveled exclusively to the tumors, still being active inside them.
Professor Alan Melcher of the University of Leeds says that this is a crucial discovery that will change the approach in cancer treatment.