Health Care

Strain of common cold virus could revolutionize treatment of bladder cancer

Strain of common cold virus could revolutionize treatment of bladder cancer”

NMIBC is found in the tissue of the inner surface of the bladder and, in the United Kingdom alone, approximately 10,000 people die each year with the illness.

Study leader Prof Hardev Pandha from the University of Surrey and Royal Surrey County Hospital, said: "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".

Unlike all preceding treatments associated with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, this approach is non-invasive and has produced zero side effects.

Transurethral resection, an invasive procedure that removes all visible lesions, has a high chance of disease recurrence, with rates ranging from 50 per cent to 70 per cent. "Notably, no significant side effects were observed in any patient", Pandha said.

The CANON study was based around a novel coxsackievirus modified to target intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), known as CAVATAK.

In a small study, fifteen patients were exposed to the cancer-killing virus coxsackievirus (CVA21) one week before they were scheduled to have surgery to remove their tumours.

Tissues samples were then analyzed and findings revealed that the virus had targeted and killed cancer cells in the bladder.

The virus was able to replicate itself and attack the cancer cells, eventually leading the infected cells to die. Urine samples taken from patients also indicated that once virally infected cancer cells had died, the newly replicated virus continued to attack more cancerous cells in the organ.

"Reduction of tumour burden and increased cancer cell death was observed in all patients, and removed all trace of the disease in one patient following just one week of treatment, showing its potential effectiveness", he said.

The bladder tumors are normally cold mainly because they do not have sufficient immune cells to fight off the cancer.

Authors concluded that an "acceptable" safety profile of CAVATAK, proof of viral targeting, replication and tumour cell death, and the creation of "immunological heat" around tumours indicate that CAVATAK "may be potentially considered as a novel therapeutic for NMIBC".

But the actions of the virus turn them "hot", making the body's immune system react.

Constant, costly monitoring is needed to check cancer has not returned after treatment.

It "could transform the way we treat cancer and could signal a move away from more established treatments such as chemotherapy", said Dr. Nicola Annels, a University of Surrey research fellow.

The surprising results suggest the simple cold could revolutionize future cancer treatment.

Incidents of bladder cancer are worse in Scotland than the rest of the United Kingdom, with 870 diagnoses in 2016 - 50 men and 290 women - with a higher proportion of women in particular. Note: material may have been edited for length and content.

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