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Common Virus Triggers Immune Response, Eliminates Cancer-Causing Cells; Cancer-Killing Virus A Medical Breakthrough [VIDEO]

Update Date: Nov 18, 2016 05:10 AM EST

A common virus, has been discovered to manipulate the body's immune response to recognize and target cancer-causing virus like the Hepatitis C (HCV) virus that causes liver cancer. A study was conducted on mice with liver cancer and treated with a benign form of reovirus, which successfully eliminated all traces of the HCV virus, a medical breakthrough.

Liver cancer ranks third in causing cancer-related deaths worldwide, killing an estimated 745,000 people in 2014 across the globe. At its advanced stage, liver cancer is the most difficult to treat. Chemotherapy, radiation and surgery are the most common treatments as reported in the official website of the American Cancer society. However, with a combination of powerful drugs and treatment, liver cancer patients can only achieve a prolonged life, not a cancer cure.

A breakthrough study used a common virus, the reovirus, which causes respiratory infection among children. Once harnessed in its benign form, the virus can be used as an agent of immunotherapy to treat liver cancer caused by HCV.

The study on mice treated with reovirus has shown positive results, indicating the effectiveness of the virus in killing HCV virus in the body and even in tumor growth. The experiment proves that the virus has successfully stopped cancer.

One particular study reported in IFL Science looked into the reovirus as an oncolytic agent to treat liver cancer. The virus can be manipulated in two ways. First, it stops certain immune checkpoints, and second, it enables immune stimulation. The second manipulation proves to be the most crucial for the virus can be hyper-activated to target specific cells or cancer causing cells.

The use of cancer killing virus or "oncolytic" virus has already a precedent. In fact, an array of genetically modified viruses has been harnessed to be oncolytic agents as reported in Nature. One particular virus for treatment of skin cancers has already been licensed for use on cancer patients. Meanwhile, the reovirus treatment for liver cancer is still awaiting approval for clinical trials.

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