Cancer, the second biggest cause of death after heart disease takes the life of millions every year. It is estimated that around 9.5 million people died of cancer around the world in 2018. Even the cancer treatment like chemotherapy is excruciatingly painful. Yet some survive and some don’t. Scientists have been working day and night to find or develop a less painful and more successful treatment for cancer. In hope of eradicating cancer, for the first time scientists have injected a human with a cancer-killing virus.
Cancer-killing virus: Vaxinia
The trials of the experiment are likely to continue for two years. Around 100 of patients will be recruited from Australia and the US for this experiment. Scientists have high expectations for the success of this experiment. The dose will be injected to patients with advanced solid or metastatic tumors and have already undergone two other treatments.
A cancer treatment and research body based in the US, City of Hope’s leading investigator said “Our previous research demonstrated that oncolytic viruses can stimulate the immune system to respond to and kill cancer, as well as stimulate the immune system to be more responsive to other immunotherapies, including checkpoint inhibitors.”
He further added “Now is the time to further enhances the power of immunotherapy, and we believe CF33-hNIS (Vaxinia) has the potential to improve outcomes for our patients in their battle with cancer.”
This experiment has shown positive results in animals. According to City of Hope press release the cancer-killing virus “shrinks colon, lung, breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancer tumors in preclinical laboratory and animal models”.
Moreover, the results in the human injected with vaxinia show significant progress. It is said that “The dosing of the first patient in our Vaxinia study is a significant milestone for Imugene and clinicians faced with the challenge of treatment for metastatic advanced solid tumours.” The virus attacks the cancer cells only leaving the healthy cells. It can’t be said with certainty whether this cancer-killing virus can be used to treat cancer or not, as the first patient is still under observation.
However, to date research, experiments, and trials point at the likelihood of its success. We hope that it could make the immune system strong enough to defend against a deadly disease like cancer.