July 5, 2019 - 13:55 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A strain of the common cold virus can destroy cancer cells, a pioneering trial has found, according to the Evening Standard.
Bladder cancer patients were given a dose of the virus one week before surgery to remove their tumours.
All signs of the disease disappeared in one patient, and in 14 others there was evidence that cancer cells had died.
Researchers at the University of Surrey said the virus could "help revolutionise treatment" for the cancer and reduce the risk of it recurring.
Dr Nicola Annels, a research fellow at the university, said it could “signal a move away from more established treatments such as chemotherapy".
Non-muscle invasive bladder is the 10th most common cancer in the UK, with around 10,000 new cases each year.
Current treatments for this type of cancer are invasive or can cause serious side effects, and constant monitoring is needed to check it has not returned after treatment.
Action Bladder Cancer UK chairman Allen Knight called the new findings "very exciting", but said they would need to be confirmed by larger studies.
In this study, 15 patients with the disease were given the cancer-killing coxsackievirus (CVA21) through a catheter one week before surgery to remove their tumours.
When tissue samples were analysed post-surgery, there were signs the virus had targeted and killed cancer cells in the bladder.
"The virus gets inside cancer cells and kills them by triggering an immune protein, and that leads to signalling of other immune cells to come and join the party,” explained the study’s lead Professor Hardev Pandha from the University of Surrey and Royal Surrey County Hospital.
The team now aims to use the common cold virus with a targeted immunotherapy drug treatment, called a checkpoint inhibitor, in a future trial with more patients.
Bladder cancer expert Dr Mark Linch, of the Cancer Research UK Cancer Institute, said the initial results were "encouraging".
He said: "It will be really interesting to see how this new virus-based therapy fares in larger trials in people with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, particularly in combination with newer immunotherapies.”