A trial run study by The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and the Institute of Cancer Research found that injections of a genetically engineered herpes virus used in conjunction with radiation and chemotherapy may help prevent relapse in cancer patients.
The cold sore virus, known as Onco VEX, was modified to multiply inside cancer cells but not in healthy ones. It would then burst and kill tumour cells, as well as releasing a human protein that would help stimulate patients’ immune systems.
The virus was injected into cancer affected lymph nodes of the patients, in up to four doses.
Tumour shrinkage could be seen on scans for 14 patients, and over three quarters of the participants showed no trace of residual cancer in their lymph nodes during subsequent surgery to remove them. More than two years later, over three quarters of the patients involved in the study had not succumbed to the disease. (Source)
The study was small, and researchers advised that people not assume the results to be conclusive. However, they are hopeful about the results and plan to pursue further study.
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