Friday October 19, 2018

Cancer patients can be treated with virus therapy, proves study

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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.

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Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Feels Need For More Awareness Among People Regarding Cancer

She applauded WCI's event for supporting and taking care of various issues related to cancer, especially amongst underprivileged women

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Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

Actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who supported a Women’s Cancer Initiative (WCI) event here, says people generally need to be more aware about the disease as early detection can give them a better chance at a cure.

Aishwarya interacted with the media when she supported WCI’s Soul Stirrings event, hosted by Tata Memorial Hospital here on Tuesday.

The actress and former Miss World pointed out that there are many myths in the country about cancer as a disease.

“There are so many myths and misconceptions in our country that it is astonishing to realise and recognise that there are so many people even in this day and age who believe that a disease like cancer could possibly be contagious to us. That’s shocking, but to many it seems that’s a fact.

“That just boils down to lack of awareness, education, access to information, recognising what this disease is all about and the step you need to take as simple as early detection,” she said.

Aishwarya Rai hopes people get more aware around cancer
Aishwarya Rai hopes people get more aware around cancer. Pixabay

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan said it is important to educate people and create awareness among them about cancer.

“Events such as these have come together to draw attention and raise awareness, increase dialogue, make information more accessible to people and have people coming for their regular check-ups for early detection because that in the course of action is referred to as a baby step, but it is the most important step to a possible cure of the disease when a patient has it.

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“So, earlier detection gives you a higher chance at a cure and that’s a possibility that every person should humanly have a right to access. We hope this early detection of curable cancer in women will be an important component of the cancer control program in India.”

She applauded WCI’s event for supporting and taking care of various issues related to cancer, especially amongst underprivileged women. (IANS)

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