A new research reveals that a genetically modified strain of herpes can treat skin cancer.
Researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research in London and the NHS Royal Marsden Hospital genetically engineered Talimogene Laherparepve (T-VEC) and treated patients suffering from melanoma.
Herpes virus has a different approach on the body when compared to chemotherapy. Chemotherapy kills any cells that are reproducing rapidly whereas herpes virus target cancer cells only. Not only this, it can activate the immune system to fight cancer. Since the virus targets cancer cells only, it has fewer side effects when compared to chemotherapy and other new immunotherapies. Hence, herpes is the new hope in treating cancer.
The study was conducted on more than 400 patients who suffered from aggressive malignant melanoma. More than 16% showed a lasting response for six months compared with 2% who were given normal treatment.
“We may normally think of viruses as the enemies, but it’s their ability to specifically infect and kill human cells that can make them such promising cancer treatments” said Professor Paul Workman, chief executive of the Institute of Cancer Research.
“We hope to see this agent receive approval in about the next 12 months, making it possible to prescribe it for cancer” said lead researcher Kevin Harrington, ICR.
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