Researchers have discovered a viral species that kills cancerous cells through encoding a protein by which it can also target and kill adjacent cells that usually misled the immune system by preserving cancer and supplying it with nutrients and various growth factors.
Scientists from the University of Oxford said that this is the first time they have been trying to target specifically cancer-associated fibroblasts within solid tumors with the help of a virus.
They have in-vitro tested the effect of dual action virus in mice and on human cancer samples. Now, if the virus successfully passes the safety testing without causing any notable effects, the further testing on humans with carcinomas could be initiated as early as next year.
The currently available therapies that target the “tricked” fibroblast cells may also destroy fibroblasts present all over the body.
A virus known as enadenotucirev was used by the researchers in the clinical trials focusing to treat carcinoma cells. The research is also published in the journal Cancer Research.
The virus has been developed to infect only cancerous cells, keeping the healthy cells unaffected.
Researchers through genetic modification in viral genome caused a protein—bi-specific T-cell engager—to produce specifically in cancerous cells.
The major function of the protein is to provoke the immune system by binding with fibroblasts through one end and the other end particularly binds to the T-cells, which activates the T-cells to destroy attached fibroblasts.
The viral targeting is effective against different types of cancers developing in the skin or tissue lining of internal organs including lungs, breasts, colon, prostate, and ovaries.
The team has already analyzed the effect of the virus on freshly collected human cancerous tissue samples including tumors of prostate cancer. The virus forms the complex structure of tumors. Along with this, the virus did not show any adverse effects throughout testing over healthy bone marrow samples.