Prostate cancer tumours meet their match with viruses

2013 Research

When chemotherapy and radiotherapy damage cells, the immune system is boosted to help in the repair process. Researchers have found that they can introduce a virus into the white immune cells and this kills off cancers cells and tumours in mice given prostate cancer. (Journal of Cancer Research).

The Trojan-horse therapy was studied by Professor Claire Lewis and her team at Sheffield. They used macrophages, a part of the immune system which normally attacks foreign invaders. These are mixed with a virus which, just like HIV, avoids being attacked and instead becomes a passenger in the white blood cell.

In the study, the mice were injected with the white blood cells two days after a course of chemotherapy ended. At this stage each white blood cell contained just a couple of viruses. However, once the macrophages enter the tumour the virus can replicate. After about 12 hours the white blood cells burst and eject up to 10,000 viruses each - which go on to infect, and kill, the cancerous cells. At the end of the 40-day study, all the mice who were given the Trojan treatment were still alive and had no signs of tumours.

2013 Research
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