Virus can attack prostate cancer
Dr. Don Morris, an oncologist at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary
and his colleagues used a reovirus ó a respiratory virus commonly found
in the environment ó to kill prostate cancer cells.
The experiment involved injecting the reovirus into six prostate cancer
patients, as well as mice models and test-tube studies to check how
well the approach worked.
The reovirus naturally responds to mutations in the Ras pathway found in
cancer cells. In normal cells, antiviral particles neutralize the virus before
it can replicate.
When the reovirus enters tumour cells, though, it causes the cancer cell
to burst and release thousands of viral particles that go on to kill other
cancer cells. The bloodstream also carries particles to adjacent tumours,
which may also regress, the researchers found.
The researchers stressed they don't see reovirus as a cure for cancer,
since it was rare that tumours completely vanished. The injections also
worked better when given along with chemotherapy.
The study was published in Tuesday's online issue Cancer Research, a
journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.