In a daring yet successful experiment to cure deadly brain tumors, researchers have combined the cancer-killing properties of poliovirus together with a harmless genetic coding element from the common cold.
The resulting modified virus created a remarkably strong anti-cancer agent that rapidly killed cancer cells in laboratory cell cultures and in animals -- and without causing polio, said Matthias Gromeier, M.D., assistant professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center. Testing of the new viral agent in humans should begin within two years, he said.
In the study, the modified poliovirus rapidly killed cancer cells derived from primary brain tumors as well as cells derived from breast and colon cancer metastases -- all within a matter of four to six hours. In fact, polio is known to be one of the quickest killers of infected host cells, producing approximately a thousand additional infectious viral units per infected cell, he said.
Becky Levine | dukemed news
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