Home pagePress monitoringHerpes virus genetically engineered to kill cancer

Herpes virus genetically engineered to kill cancer

Date: 26.9.2022 

“Viruses are one of humanity’s oldest enemies, as we have all seen over the pandemic,” explained Kristian Helin from the Institute of Cancer Research. “But our new research suggests we can exploit some of the features that make them challenging adversaries to infect and kill cancer cells.”

Kredit: Victoramuse / Wikimedia Commons.Called oncolytic viruses, researchers have long explored the potential for these tiny invaders to be recruited as cancer-killing soldiers. With the advent of genetic engineering over recent years scientists have finally been able to engineer viruses so they help instead of harm.

In this new research scientists have looked to modify a strain of the herpes simplex virus. The genetically modified virus, called RP2, has been engineered to only multiply within cancer cells, causing them to essentially inflate and explode.

The virus is designed to be directly injected into tumors and also act as an immune system alarm, attracting the body’s own cancer-killing cells by producing molecules that spark immune activity.

“Our study shows that a genetically engineered, cancer-killing virus can deliver a one-two punch against tumors – directly destroying cancer cells from within while also calling in the immune system against them,” said Kevin Harrington, a researcher working on the project.

Image source: Victoramuse / Wikimedia Commons.





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