Cancer is one of the most devastating things, and millions of people lose their lives to cancer every year.
However, we might be just a step closer to ensuring that no one else has to lose their life to cancer with a new virus that, according to the Australian company that developed it, effectively eliminates every type of cancer.
We do realize that lots of people might raise an eyebrow about using a virus to fight a disease, but scientists have been doing this for years, and it has worked! For example, a modified form of the herpes virus is being used as a treatment against some types of skin cancer, and cowpox, a disease from cows is what formed the basis of the first smallpox vaccine for humans.
The virus used to eliminate cancer also based on cowpox, and it’s called CF33. Early trials to mice have shown that the virus reduces cancer cells, and now Imugene is looking at doing human experiments.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the company will specifically target patients with triple-negative breast cancer, melanoma, lung cancer, bladder, bowel, and gastric cancer.
Cancer expert Professor Yuman Fong has told the Daily Telegraph that there was evidence that this virus could eliminate cancer cells from the early 1900s, when people vaccinated against rabies had their cancer disappear and they went to remission. However, the main problem for scientists was that if you made the virus toxic enough to eliminate cancer, you could also eliminate the person.
Professor Fong now believes that his concoction will be fine for human consumption and will be the best way to go against cancerous tumors. The patients in the trials will have the virus directly injected into their tumors, and the virus will multiply until it bursts out of the tumors, effectively completely eliminating it.
And while the development of this breakthrough technology is very exciting, people have been warned that there is a long road ahead before this could realistically be used in hospitals.
Chief Professor Sanchia Aranda at Cancer Council told the Daily Telegraph that scientists are yet to see whether the human immune system mounts a defense against the virus and knocks it off before it gets to the cancer, or if there will be some bad side effects. She noted that cancer cells are actually very clever, and they mutate to survive. The reality is that there is a likelihood they will evolve to become resistant to the virus, as they do now become resistant to chemotherapy and immunotherapy.