Genetically Engineered Strain of Herpes Kills Cancer Cells in First Human Trial

The herpesvirus is designed to be injected into tumors and attract cancer-killing immune cells (Depositphotos)

Scientists have genetically modified a strain of the herpes virus to act as a cancer-killing agent in humans. Findings from an initial human trial are encouraging, with the experimental treatment proving safe and promisingly effective.

“Viruses are one of humanity’s oldest enemies, as we have all seen over the pandemic,” explained Kristian Helen 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.”

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.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: New Atlas, Rich Haridy