Tuesday June 25, 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

Home Nutrition Care Keeps Patient Out of Hospital, Found Researchers

It was also found that healthcare costs were reduced by more than $2.3 million or about $1,500 per patient at risk for malnutrition

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FILE - A Congolese boy has his arm measured for malnutrition in a clinic run by medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres in the remote town of Dubie in Congo's southeastern Katanga province, March 18, 2006. VOA

Researchers have found that implementing a nutrition care plan at home for patients at risk for malnutrition had a dramatic impact on helping keep them out of the hospital.

“Our goal as a home healthcare provider is to help patients get back on their feet as quickly as possible and to keep them out of the hospital,” said study lead author Katie Riley from Advocate Aurora Health in the US.

Paying attention to nutrition care helps promote patients’ strength and prevents them from going back to the hospital, which ultimately reduces healthcare costs, she said.

For the study, published in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, more than 1,500 home health patients were followed for 90 days.

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A nurse looks as he weighs a malnourished girl at a malnutrition treatment center in Sanaa, Yemen, Oct. 7, 2018. VOA

The research found that when patients at risk for malnutrition received a comprehensive nutrition care program to aid in their recovery, risk of being hospitalised was significantly reduced by 24 per cent in the first 30 days, nearly 23 per cent after 60 days and 18 per cent after 90 days.

It was also found that healthcare costs were reduced by more than $2.3 million or about $1,500 per patient at risk for malnutrition.

Also Read: Small Shops in US Often Sell Tobacco Without Checking Age

“Healthcare systems are driven to improve patient care while reducing costs. Our research shows that prioritising nutrition across different settings of care – from hospital to home – can significantly cut costs while improving patients’ health,” said study co-author Suela Sulo. (IANS)