New designer viruses can help fight cancer: study
Scientists have created artificial “designer” viruses that can target cancer by alerting the body’s immune system and sending killer cells to fight tumors. The findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, could pave the way for new treatments for cancer.
Most cancer cells do not cause a limited response by the immune system – body defense mechanism – and can grow without appreciable resistance. In contrast, viral infections cause the release of warning signals, which stimulates the immune system to use all available means to fight the invader.
Immunotherapies, used to treat cancer for many years “désinhibent” body defense system and thus strengthen your heart fight against cancer cells half way. Stimulate the immune system to specifically fight relentlessly and cancer cells, yet being elusive.
Researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the University of Basel in Switzerland have managed to manufacture innovative design viruses for this purpose. They constructed the artificial lymphocytic choriomergic virus based virus (LCM), which can infect humans and rodents.
Although not harmful to mice, they release the warning signs typical of viral infections. The researchers also incorporated certain proteins into the virus that is found differently in cancer cells. The designer’s infection allowed the immune system to recognize these cancer proteins as dangerous.
The unique combination of the warning signals and cancer cell protein stimulated the immune system to create a powerful army of cytotoxic T lymphocytes, also called killer cells, that identify cancer cells through their proteins and were destroyed with the success.
The treatments provided to patients with cancer have developed considerably in recent years. However, as the researchers report, current treatments are still insufficient in the fight against many forms of cancer.
“We hope our new discoveries and technology will soon be used in cancer treatments and thus help increase your success rate,” said Doron Merkler UNIGE.