New small pox virus may kill form of breast cancer
A relative of the small pox virus may be an effective weapon against one of the deadliest forms of breast cancer, researchers say.
Laboratory tests showed that more than 90 per cent of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells treated with the vaccinia virus were destroyed within four days.
In mice with the disease, one strain of the virus cleared away 60 per cent of tumours while the extent of those left was dramatically reduced.
Vaccinia virus is best known as the basis of the vaccine that eradicated smallpox. Although closely related to the variola virus that causes smallpox, it is generally harmless to humans.
TBNC is difficult to treat because it lacks three types of molecular 'receptor' that can be targeted by existing hormonal and antibody treatments.
The disease mostly occurs in younger women and is responsible for 10% to 20 per cent of all breast cancer cases. TBNC tends to be aggressive and often recurs after chemotherapy.
The virus targets a signalling protein tumours use to promote the formation of blood vessels that support their growth.
TBNC has high levels of the protein, known as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).
Lead researcher Dr Sepideh Gholami, from Stanford University in California, US, said: 'The reason we used the vaccinia virus is that it is a member of the small pox family, and, as we know, small pox vaccine has been given to millions of people to eradicate small pox. So we thought it would be safer and more promising in terms of a clinical trial and actual application.'
The findings were presented today at the American College of Surgeons' Annual Clinical Congress in Chicago.
Exposing mice with TNBC tumours to the virus led to "extensive destruction" of the cancer over a period of three weeks, said the scientists.
'Based upon pathology, we could see that at least 60 per cent of the tumours were completely regressed and the other 40 per cent had very little areas of tumour cells present with a lot of necrosis (die off), which is a sign that the tumour was responding to therapy,' said Dr Gholami.
As well as infecting and breaking down cancer cells, the virus also blocked the growth of tumour blood vessels.
Ultrasound imaging revealed a 'significant reduction' in blood flow to tumours. The network of blood vessels supplying tumours with nutrients and oxygen shrank to half its normal size in treated animals.
The next step will be to design a clinical trial and assess the safety of the virus in patients, Dr Gholami added.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of the Breast Cancer Campaign charity, said: 'This is one example of a new type of therapy using viruses to attack cancer cells. The research is currently at an early stage in mice so the findings should be treated with cautious optimism.'
Soooo, it's not the smallpox virus at all, but something closer to cowpox. Way to go, Daily Mail, for being misleading as always.
Yeah, they don't call it "The Daily Fail" for nothing. xp I was initially freaked out because I'm a bit of a germaphobe (too much microbiology is bad for you, kiddies!), but when they actually admitted it was a relative of smallpox, I just rolled my eyes. It's like claiming cowpox (see your microbiology/immunology history) *IS* smallpox, when they're not.
Despite that, that's good news. A virus that ISN'T the deadly and highly contagious smallpox, but related can knock out breast cancer? Awesome to hear!
(Vamps, I'm not attacking you for your article. Keep posting, dear.)
So getting ride of one illness just help get one diesease which in turn must recieve another illness to treat. Damnit just let me get one so I don't suffer from all three. xp
Your comment makes me think you did not read the article closely.
Or perhaps I didn't.
My take was you would not be getting small pox (or any other disease) to get the benefits of the tumor shrinkage. Maybe I'm wrong though. Either way it sounds like a good trade off. Chemotherapy isn't so great on your body either.