Dual-action cancer-killing virus developed by Oxford scientists

Scientists have equipped a virus that kills carcinoma cells with a protein so it can also target and kill adjacent cells that are tricked into shielding the cancer from the immune syste The virus targets carcinomas, which are the most common type of cancer and start in cells in the skin or tissues that line or cover internal organs. A microscope image of a human colorectal adenocarcinoma showing the fibroblasts (brown) surrounding the cancer cells (blue), protecting them from the immune system (PA/Medical Research Council). Scientists have equipped a virus that kills carcinoma cells with a protein so it can also target and kill adjacent cells that are tricked into shielding the cancer from the immune system and supplying it with growth factors and nutrients. Researchers at the University of Oxford said it is the first time cancer-associated fibroblasts within solid tumours have been specifically targeted in this way. They believe if further safety testing is successful, the dual-action virus – which they have tested in human cancer samples and in mice – could be tested in humans with carcinomas as early as next year. Currently, any therapy that kills the “tricked” fibroblast cells may also kill fibroblasts throughout the body – for example in the bone marrow and skin – and cause toxicity.

Source: belfasttelegraph

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