November 19, 2018 - 12:59 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A genetically modified virus that kills cancer cells and destroys their hiding places has been developed by British scientists, The Sun says.
It targets both cancer cells and healthy cells that are tricked into protecting the cancer from the immune system.
The role of fibroblasts is to hold different types of organs together but they can get hijacked by cancer cells to become cancer-associated fibroblasts or CAFs.
These are then known to help tumours grow, spread and evade therapy.
The virus, developed by Oxford University scientists, attacks carcinomas, which are the most common type of cancer.
Currently, any therapy that kills the 'tricked' fibroblast cells may also kill fibroblasts throughout the body - for example in the bone marrow and skin - causing toxicity.
So researchers used a virus called enadenotucirev, which is already in clinical trials for treating carcinomas.
It has been bred to infect only cancer cells, leaving healthy cells alone.
Lecturer Dr Kerry Fisher also from the Department of Oncology who led the research said: "Even when most of the cancer cells in a carcinoma are killed, fibroblasts can protect the residual cancer cells and help them to recover and flourish.
"Until now, there has not been any way to kill both cancer cells and the fibroblasts protecting them at the same time, without harming the rest of the body.