Sunday January 26, 2020

Cancer patients can be treated with virus therapy, proves study

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cancer-cells

By NewsGram Staff Writer

Scientists at the NHS Royal Marsden Hospital and the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) have confirmed that an advanced way of treating cancer, using modified herpes virus, had improved the survival of cancer patients. By using genetically modified viruses to attack tumor cells, the melanoma skin cancer patients can be benefitted extensively.

This is the world’s first study, which proves that cancer can be treated with virus therapy.

Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, this study was conducted with 436 patients, all of whom had aggressive, inoperable malignant melanoma.

The patients treated with the virus therapy – known as T-VEC – at an earlier stage survived on average 20 months longer than patients given an alternative.

The study represents a landmark: it is the first, large, randomised trial of a so-called oncolytic virus to show success.

The Independent reported that the cancer scientists have predicted that the study has added a new weapon to the arsenal of cancer treatments.

According to the report, the method – known as viral immunotherapy – functions by launching a “two-pronged attack” on cancer cells. The virus is genetically modified so that it cannot replicate in healthy cells.

It multiplies vigorously inside the cancer cells, bursting them from within. At the same time, other genetic modifications to the virus stimulate the body’s own immune response to attack and destroy tumours.

This virus therapy is being considered for use against advanced head and neck cancers, bladder cancers and liver cancers.

Kevin Harrington, UK trial leader and professor of biological cancer therapies at the ICR and an honorary consultant at the Royal Marsden told The Independent, “I hope having worked for two decades in this field, that it really is the start of something really exciting.”

“We hope this is the first of a wave of indications for these sorts of [cancer fighting] agents that we will see coming through in the next decade or so,” he added.

Speaking to The Independent, Dr Hayley Frend, science information manager at Cancer Research UK said the potential for viruses in future cancer treatments was “exciting.”

“Previous studies have shown T-VEC could benefit some people with advanced skin cancer but this is the first study to prove an increase in survival. The next step will be to understand why only some patients respond to T-VEC, in order to help better identify which patients might benefit from it,” she said.

Next Story

Here’s Why Light Alcohol Consumption Might Also Increase Cancer Risk

The researchers found an almost linear association between cancer risk and alcohol consumption

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Alcohol
In a study published in the journal Cancer, the overall cancer risk appeared to be the lowest at zero alcohol consumption. Pixabay

If you thought one-two drinks a day would not do any harm, think again. Researchers in Japan have found that even light alcohol consumption might increase the cancer risk.

In the study published in the journal Cancer, the overall cancer risk appeared to be the lowest at zero alcohol consumption. The elevated risk appeared to be explained by alcohol-related cancer risk across relatively common sites, including the colorectum, stomach, breast, prostate and esophagus.

“In Japan, the primary cause of death is cancer,” said one of the researchers Masayoshi Zaitsu from The University of Tokyo. “Given the current burden of overall cancer incidence, we should further encourage promoting public education about alcohol-related cancer risk,” Zaitsu said. The team examined clinical data on 63,232 patients with cancer and 63,232 controls matched for sex, age, hospital admission date, and admitting hospital. The data was gathered from 33 general hospitals in Japan.

All participants reported their average daily amount of standardised alcohol units and the duration of drinking. One standardised drink containing 23 grams of ethanol was equivalent to one 180-ml cup of Japanese sake, one 500-ml bottle of beer, one 180-ml glass of wine, or one 60-ml cup of whiskey.

Drink, Alcohol, Cup, Whiskey, The Drink
If you thought one-two drinks a day would not do any harm, think again. Researchers in Japan have found that even light alcohol consumption might increase the cancer risk. Pixabay

The researchers found an almost linear association between cancer risk and alcohol consumption. A light level of drinking at 10-drink-year point, for example, one drink per day for 10 years or two drinks per day for five years would increase cancer risk by five per cent, the findings showed.

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Those who drank two or fewer drinks a day had an elevated cancer risk regardless of how long they had consumed alcohol. Also, analyses classified by sex, drinking/smoking behaviours and occupational class mostly showed the same patterns. (IANS)