Virus That Shrinks Many Types Of Cancer In Mice Discovered In Australia
Alicia ThornePublished in January 2020 / Updated in December 2020
Curing cancer. What would the world repay you for the achievement? We all know that cancer has become one of the most feared chronic illnesses of our time.
It costs the world billions of dollars every year and claims millions of lives, with little regard for age or gender.
But now, there might be hope.
In the land down under, a company by the name Imugene has found out that there’s a virus that shrinks different kinds of cancer in mice.
Their hope, along with that of the world, is that this virus can also deal with major types of cancer found in people.
The Virus Is Based On Cowpox, And The Scientists Labeled It CF33
In mice, the virus could shrink cancer tumors, and it was also good at killing various types of cancer in a petri dish.
Possible areas of application for the new cure, if it works on people, could be endless.
Yuman Fong, a cancer expert from the US, helped create the virus that destroys cancer cells, and the treatment was licensed by Imugene in Australia.
What Remains Is For The Scientists To Conduct Human Trials
When they go forward to human trials, the intention is to treat various kinds of cancer such as breast, melanoma, lung, bladder, and even bowel cancer among other types of cancer.
While there is no assurance that the treatment will 100% work, the findings reported so far are quite promising.
Nevertheless, many scientific studies fail at the human testing stage. Therefore, the chances that the cure would work on humans is still a long shot.
But if the treatment works, it would not be the first of its kind. But it’s projected success might be much greater.
Currently, there is another oncolytic virus therapy that has even gotten FDA approval. It is a genetically modified form of the herpes virus that treats melanoma.
Such cases give the research team hope that their cure might also succeed and become a recommended therapy for dealing with various forms of cancer in humans.
In fact, history even proves that viruses have had a positive impact on cancer patients. According to Fong:
“There was evidence that viruses could kill cancer from the early 1900s when people vaccinated against rabies had their cancer disappear, they went into remission.”
But wouldn’t the cowpox virus harm humans?
Apparently, it wouldn’t. Besides, in this case, it has been mixed up with other viruses.
And how would the treatment be administered?
Typically, the CF33 virus would be injected directly into the tumors, so that it could infect the cancer cells and destroy them.
Also, with the body aware that there are cancer cells in the body, these cells would be destroyed.
However, before that happens, the treatment will have to go a long way. This is according to Chief Professor Sanchia Aranda of the Cancer Council.
For instance, the human immune system might not play along as expected.
“Cancer cells are very clever, they are true Darwinians that mutate to survive and there is a likelihood they will evolve to become resistant to the virus as they do now to become resistant to chemotherapy and immunotherapy.”
But despite its grim outlook on the possibilities of this invention turning into an effective cure, the Council hopes that the new treatment passes human tests.