Common cold virus destroys bladder tumors
Our Beloved Family:
A recent study1 from the University of Surrey in England has generated a lot of interest in the world of cancer research. Although the study size was small, the reaction to the results was large. While using viruses to kill cancer cells isn’t a new concept, the research demonstrated for the first time that a virus could effectively treat early stage bladder cancer
The study involved 15 patients with bladder cancer who were infected with coxsackievirus A21, one of the viruses that cause the common cold. The virus was administered through the patients’ existing catheters via fluid that was pumped into the bladder over the course of an hour.
Several days later when the patients went to surgery, all their tumors showed various levels of damage as a result of the virus’s ability to kill cancer cells, as well as its triggering of the immune system to join the fight. In one patient, the tumor was completely destroyed. Even more amazing is the fact that none of the patients experienced any symptoms of the common cold.
It was suspected that the coxsackievirus A21 could kill cancerous bladder cells because they have a molecular gateway on their outer membrane called ICAM-1 that lets the virus in. Healthy cells lack this gateway, and so they’re protected from attack. Once the virus enters the cancer cell, it kills it by triggering an immune protein. That process sends a signal to the body’s immune system to mobilize its own cells to attack the cancer too, which results in a massive combined assault. The ICAM-1 gateway has previously been discovered on other cancer cells, including melanoma.
Unfortunately, catching the common cold from another person won’t be enough to trigger this kind of response. Researchers in this study gave patients much higher doses of the virus than would normally be experienced in someone with a seasonal cold. With this in mind, it’s fascinating that none of the patients actually caught the cold itself during the process of the study.
Although larger studies need to be done, the power of viruses to kill cancer is some of the most promising research we have to date. Researchers of this study believe that the use of viruses for cancer treatment will eventually be approved for humans and that in many cases it could eliminate the need for toxic therapies like radiation and chemotherapy.
Love, Light, and Clarity in the Month Ahead,
Dr. Habib Sadeghi and Dr. Sherri Sami
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- Annels, E et al. (2019). Viral targeting of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer and priming of anti-tumour immunity following intravesical coxsackievirus a21. Clinical Cancer Research, doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-18-4022.