Fighting cancer, Greek-style
Cancer researchers have been trying to find ways to use viruses to fight cancerous tumors for a while, but have run into problems getting the viruses deep into cancerous tumors without being detected. It turns out the answer to this challenge may lie in an ancient method of warfare.
Now, however, a team of researchers in the United Kingdom has found a way to hide cancer-fighting viruses within the immune system of mice, allowing the virus to reach the tumor by stealth without being attacked. Once inside the tumor, the virus opens and tens of thousands of viruses attack the cancerous cells. In mouse studies, this “Trojan-horse” technique eradicated the mice’s cancerous tumors and seemed to prevent their recurrence as well.
Researchers caution that therapies that work on mice are not always effective on humans. But at the very least, they have discovered a new way to make chemotherapy and radiotherapy more effective against cancer. Researchers hope to start human trials next year.