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Viruses have been studied for use in cancer treatment before, but this is one of the first times a virus has been able to target cancer cells. Because this is only the first stage of clinical testing, researchers are still focusing on safety, but this time in humans.
The study is still only in phase one, so there is a long way to go, but it has shown positive results thus far. Study leaders at Duke University’s Brain Tumor Center are injecting a genetically modified polio virus directly into cancerous cells in the brain as part of a phased study. Of the 22 glioblastoma patients enrolled in the trial, half died while the other 11 continue treatment and have lived longer than they were expected to.
Advocate nurses honored at Chicago Bulls event Top performing Advocate nurses participated in a fun-filled day with the Chicago Bulls. Kim Vuckovich, a nurse at Advocate Children’s Hospital, shares what it’s like to care for some of the most fragile babies. While researchers have managed to eradicate and prevent numerous other diseases, cancer is one that has continued to evade them. There are still a few cases around, but there is a vaccine available which prevents many people from being infected.
However, because polio can be a devastating disease, there has been much concern about using it for treatment. They have been using the modified polio virus to develop a treatment for brain tumors, or glioblastomas, but believe that it could be used to treat other types of cancer as well.


Six decades later, this once-deadly virus is being heralded as a possible cure for glioblastoma, the deadliest type of brain cancer, which took the life of Senator Ted Kennedy. In two of these patients, doctors have not detected any signs of the cancer three years after their patients began the experimental treatment.
There have been many breakthroughs and treatments which have left some patients in remission and extended the lives of others, but researchers are still seeking more effective treatments. He found that while it does attach to neurons, which is what leads to polio, it also attaches to solid tumor cancer cells. The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, where the research is being conducted, has tested the modified virus in animals for the last seven years to verify its safety.
Researchers are aiming to find the right dosage of the virus that will treat the tumor while producing minimal side effects. Although they have developed other treatment methods that have helped many patients achieve remission, there is always the risk that the cancer could come back. The modified polio virus then tears down the cancerous tumors defensive shield, allowing the patient’s immune system to attack the tumor, researchers say. One such approach which is gaining attention is the use of a modified polio virus to treat cancer. After working so hard to prevent polio, why would they want to reintroduce it into society? Therefore he modified the virus to remove the sequence which causes it to attach to normal neurons, thereby making it target only cancer cells.


Because they are waking up the immune system to fight off the cancer cells, this can lead to inflammation. As the study progresses to later stages where the focus turns more toward survival after the safety has been tested, the hope is that there will be more patients who become cancer-free or have prolonged survival.
When the virus is injected into tumors, it stimulates the body’s immune system and makes it think that there is polio present.
After years of research and testing, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally approved the virus for clinical trials in humans. Researchers need to find a balance between injecting enough of the virus to kill the tumor, while not causing too much discomfort in the patient. There is no way to accurately predict what the cancer cells might do, so researchers try to create ways to make it more difficult for the cells to survive and fight back. And that is the catch – researchers have modified the virus so that it targets cancer cells and does not trigger development of polio in patients. The immune system then begins fighting off the cancer cells and ideally will kill the tumor. Immunotherapy – which is what using the modified polio virus would be – may be one technique that is harder for cancer cells to fight.



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