Could a Virus Help Kill Cancer?

The search to find help for cancer patients is never-ending. New research is focused on methods that “attack” or “kill” cancer cells through alternative ways including using one’s own body to fight the disease. The term “poliovirus” has long been deemed to be associated with the deadly disease polio. However, new research may have some looking at it in a new light.

Scientists at Duke University recently unveiled a study that found poliovirus may be able to provide unique help for cancer patients. The study revealed that the virus can attack cancer cells, setting off a process that jumpstarts the body’s immune system to fight back against cancer.

What Does the Research Say?

Researchers introduced poliovirus to subjects suffering from melanoma and breast cancer and observed that the proteins in the cancer cells served as receptors for the virus. Once it attached itself, the virus attacked the cancer cells, which responded by releasing toxic antigens. After the toxins began circulating, the body’s immune system responded, attacking the tumor. The cyclical process that the poliovirus touched off halted tumor growth.

What Now?

The research points to a potentially significant breakthrough in cancer treatment and prevention. Scientists plan to continue to study the role poliovirus can play in reducing the growth of melanoma, breast cancer and prostate cancer. In particular, researchers intend to use combination treatments to explore even more effective ways to generate responses from the immune system.

While poliovirus has traditionally been thought of as a threat to one’s health, modern innovations in cancer research highlight the potential health-saving benefits of the virus. This type of research is among a new trend of scientists looking at innovative ways to attack cancer. By finding a range of treatments, health professionals can provide help to cancer patients in a variety of ways that may work for each unique case.

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