Treating Brain Cancer with Viruses

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Some parvoviruses have been shown to kill tumor cells without harming healthy tissue and have been tested previously in cancer therapy.

Using a particular parvovirus, the parvovirus H-1, researchers at the German Cancer Research Center studied with rats who received brain tumor cells by implantation. When the brain tumors reached a specific size the rodents were given parvoviruses either by direct injection into the tumor or into the blood stream. In rodents injected directly into the tumor the tumor shrank visibly after three days and disappeared in eight of the 12 rodents treated. They survived without any symptoms. The untreated rodent controls had severe disease symptoms within 3 weeks following the tumor implantation.
In the rodents who received injections into the blood stream six of nine rodents showed regression of the tumor and all treated rodents survived for one year with no signs of side effects.
There was no infection-related damage in the nervous tissue surrounding the tumor in the treated rodents and the virus did not spread to the whole organism. Parvovirus DNA was found in all organs after several days following transfer but that only lasted for a short time. Despite the viruses infecting healthy tissue they did not reproduce as they did in the tumor tissue where they reproduced and the viral protein production was detected. In rats that did not have tumors, the virus did not reproduce. The researchers concluded that the presence of cancer cells seem to be necessary for the parvovirus to reproduce. They believe these viruses are suitable for use in cancer treatment. More information is available at:
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers (2010, May 5) Viruses effective against brain cancer in animals. Human trials set to start. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 9, 2010., from http://www.sciencedaily.com/ releases/2010/05/100504095106.htm

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