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Thursday 27th October 2016

Viruses modified to kill cancer cells

26th April 2010

Scientists at the University of Leeds have said modified viruses can be used to search out and kill cancer cells.


The researchers discovered that proteins could be put into a virus in order to enable it to distinguish "unique markers" on the outside of cancer cells.

They said the virus could then target the cells by giving them gene therapy.

The research, which has been paid for by Cancer Research UK, has been carried out in laboratories but scientists now hope to begin clinical trials.

In experiments the researchers discovered that once the virus could recognise and infiltrate cancer cells, it could also supply genes to have an effect on the cells.

The genes could cause the cancer to become more receptive to medication,"suicide" genes could be brought in or absent or flawed genes which allow cancer to grow can be restored.

Dr John Chester, who led the study, said: "Gene therapies have been out of fashion over the last couple of years. This isn't an indication that they don't work; just that we haven't found the best way to use them yet."

The team researched bladder cancer cells in the laboratory but stated that the gene therapy they used had the potential to be applied to any type of cancer. 

Dr Chester added: "Our research points to a new method to optimise viruses for gene therapy and has so far been promising in the lab. We now need to test these gene therapies in patients."

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