Cancer-Killing Virus Tested In Patients

graphic of cancer cell surrounded by viruses

Viruses are generally thought of as disease-causing villians. This is particularly true because of the COVID pandemic - caused by a virus.

For some cancer patients, that view is hopefully going to change. Using viruses to kill cancer is an old idea, but a new clinical trial will test a modern approach. Viruses that kill cancer are called 'oncolytic' - 'onco' for cancer and 'lytic' for their ability to destroy the cancer cells. The new oncolytic virus has been shown to successfully reduce the growth of several kinds of cancer in animals. The new virus has been designed to both kill cancer and also enhance the patient's own immune response to the cancer. A type of immunotherapy.

The first trial will be small, about 100 patients. All of them have cancers that have failed prior treatments. The goal of this first study is to make sure the virus is safe to use, but how well it works will also be followed closely.

Image Credit
Composite of images from Wikimedia Commons