November 20, 2018
Scientists at Oxford University have developed a genetically modified virus that can kill cancer cells.
The virus attacks both tumours and healthy cells, known as fibroblasts, that have been ‘tricked’ into protecting the cancer from the immune system.
Any existing treatment that kills ‘tricked’ fibroblasts, may also destroy those in the bone marrow and skin.
Researchers said it is the first time cancer-associated fibroblasts within solid tumours have been specifically targeted in this way.
Dr Kerry Fisher, from the University of Oxford’s department of oncology, who led the research, said: ‘Even when most of the cancer cells in a carcinoma are killed, fibroblasts can protect the residual cancer cells and help them to recover and flourish.
‘Until now, there has not been any way to kill both cancer cells and the fibroblasts protecting them at the same time, without harming the rest of the body.
‘Our new technique to simultaneously target the fibroblasts while killing cancer cells with the virus could be an important step towards reducing immune system suppression within carcinomas and should kick-start the normal immune process.’
The virus, called enadenotucirev, is already used in clinical trials for treating cancers that start in the pancreas, colon, lungs, breasts, ovaries or prostate.
This article was posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2018 at 8:28 am