Fighting skin cancer with herpes

In the 70s and 80s, we feared it like nothing else. Now herpes could be used to save lives – and this is only the beginning. Could today’s diseases become tomorrow’s cures?

Using a modified version of the herpes virus, researchers has successfully treated skin cancer in test patients. London’s Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), who headed the study, are calling it a “landmark” breakthrough.

According to the ICR’s statement, this marks the best news yet for virotherapy, a new treatment technique which can transform harmful viruses into helpful therapeutic agents, turning their once-terrifying aggression into a force for good.

The new treatment, known T-VEC, has already been submitted to major US and European medical agencies for approval, and could be available to the public by next year.

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“We may normally think of viruses as the enemies of mankind” said ICR Chief Executive Professor Paul Workman, “but it’s their very ability to specifically infect and kill human cells that can make them such promising cancer treatments.

“It’s exciting to see the potential of viral treatment realised in a Phase III trial, and there is hope that therapies like this could be even more effective when combined with targeted cancer drugs to achieve long term control and cure”.

 

Do you know somebody who could benefit from this treatment? How would you feel about experimenting?