Not all viruses are designed to lead to disease and death. Some show potential to combat cancer, according to a new study. And scientists believe that this is only the beginning of the study of modified viruses and they have the potential to treat and other diseases.
Researchers from Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan could use genetic engineering to create adenoviruses that are a number of viruses, resulting in mild symptoms of disease, to multiply inside cancer cells, killing them as indicated in the new work, published in the journal Cancers.
To achieve this, Fumihiro Higashino, molecular oncologist and his team introduced the so-called AU-rich elements of the 2 human genes – a stabilizing element in the form of macromolecules in all biological cells in a few strains of the virus to help in a special way to attack the cancer cells.
“The idea of this introduction is that AU-rich elements stabilize adenoviruses, allowing them to replicate only within cancer cells but not in normal healthy cells,”– said in a statement, Fumihiro Higashino.
To test the modified virus, the researchers introduced human cancer cells under the skin bare of laboratory mice, who then developed tumors. The researchers then injected the adenovirus into the tumor, which led to a significant reduction.
Fumihiro Higashino said these findings are promising not only for cancer treatment but also for treatment of other diseases. “We believe that the viruses that we managed to create, also may have the potential to treat diseases associated with inflammation, viral infections, hypoxia and UV irradiation”,- said Higashino.