Tuesday October 22, 2019

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

Fatty Tissues Accumulate Inside Lungs of Obese People: Study

The researchers examined post-mortem samples of the lungs that had been donated for the research and stored in the Airway Tissue Biobank

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Excess fat accumulates in the airway walls of Obese people where it takes up space and seems to increase inflammation within the lungs. Pixabay

Researchers have found that fatty tissues accumulate in the airway walls, particularly in people who are overweight or obese.

The study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, suggested that the fatty tissue alters the structure of people’s airways and this could be one reason behind the increased risk of asthma.

“Our research team studies the structure of the airways within our lungs and how these are altered in people with respiratory disease,” said the study’s author John Elliot from Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Australia.

“Looking at the samples of lungs, we spotted fatty tissue that had built up in the airway walls. We wanted to see if this accumulation was correlated with body weight,” Elliot said.

The researchers examined post-mortem samples of the lungs that had been donated for the research and stored in the Airway Tissue Biobank.

They studied samples from 52 people, including 15 who had no asthma, 21 who had the disease but died of other causes and 16 who died of asthma.

Using dyes to help visualise the structures of 1373 airways under a microscope, they identified and quantified any fatty tissue present.

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Fatty tissue alters the structure of Obese people’s airways and this could be one reason behind the increased risk of asthma. Pixabay

They compared this data with each person’s body mass index (BMI).

The study showed that fatty tissue accumulates in the walls of the airways. The analysis revealed that the amount of fat present increases in line with increasing BMI.

“We’ve found that excess fat accumulates in the airway walls where it takes up space and seems to increase inflammation within the lungs,” said the study’s co-author Peter Noble.

ALSO READ: Playing Sports Linked with Lower Mental Health Issues: Study

“We think this is causing a thickening of the airways that limits the flow of air in and out of the lungs, and that could at least partly explain an increase in asthma symptoms,” Noble said. (IANS)