A genetically modified virus that kills cancer cells and destroys their hiding places has been developed by British scientists.It targets both cancer cells and healthy cells that are tricked into protecting the cancer from the immune system.
The role of fibroblasts is to hold different types of organs together but they can get hijacked by cancer cells to become cancer-associated fibroblasts or CAFs.
These are then known to help tumors grow, spread and evade therapy.The virus, developed by Oxford University scientists, attacks carcinomas, which are the most common type of cancer. The findings were published in Cancer Research.
Currently, any therapy that kills the ‘tricked’ fibroblast cells may also kill fibroblasts throughout the body – for example in the bone marrow and skin – causing toxicity.
So researchers used a virus called enadenotucirev, which is already in clinical trials for treating carcinomas.