A new study has revealed that a genetically-engineered herpes treatment eradicates tumours in terminally-ill cancer patients.
Rallying the immune system, the new therapy infects and destroys cancer cells according to scientists at the Institute for Cancer Research in London.
Shrinking the tumours of one-quarter of patients with end-of-life cancer, early trials to assess the safety of the therapy were successful.
Causing cancer cells to burst from within, the genetically engineered virus is injected directly into the tumour where it multiplies.
Giving the body more of a chance to fight off cancer, it blocks a protein called CTLA-4 which dials down the immune system.
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”Viruses are one of humanity’s oldest enemies, as we have all seen over the pandemic. But our new research suggests we can exploit some of the features that make them challenging adversaries to infect and kill cancer cells,” said Professor Kristian Helin, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London.
After finding positive changes in the tumour’s “immune microenvironment,” scientists found that injections led to more immune cells in the area.
Hoping to move to bigger trials, research has been presented at the 2022 European Society for Medical Oncology Congress (ESMO).
”Our study shows that a genetically engineered, cancer-killing virus can deliver a one-two punch against tumours – directly destroying cancer cells from within while also calling in the immune system against them,” said Study leader Kevin Harrington, professor of biological cancer therapies at The Institute of Cancer Research.
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