A new cowpox-style virus may be the key to cancer treatment as scientists say it can kill all types of the deadly disease. CF33 is the name of the treatment, which has been found to be effective in killing every kind of cancer in a petrie dish. It can even reduce the size of the tumours in mice.
Treatment is being developed by Australia biotech company Imugene in collaboration with US cancer expert Professor Yuman Fong.Experts hope to test the treatment on cancer patients in 2020, which will include cancer patients with triple negative breast cancer, melanoma, lung cancer, bladder, gastric and bowel cancer.
Even though tests on mice have been successful, the outcome could be different in humans. However, the team remains positive it could work effectively tackle cancer in humans."There was evidence that viruses could kill cancer from the early 1900s when people vaccinated against rabies had their cancer disappear, they went into remission,' Professor Fong told a news portal.
However, many were concerned viruses could contain toxins that could be dangerous for humans. "The problem was if you made the virus toxic enough to kill cancer you were worried it would also kill man," Professor Fong told a news portal.
Professor Fong said cowpox has not been found to be dangerous in humans. Tests show mixing it with other viruses could combat the deadly disease. The team plans to inject the treatment directly into a cancer patient's tumour.
The potential new treatment offers hope for people living with the disease. “It’s critical to find new treatments, there are too many young women passing away from this disease,” Jess Braude, aSydney social worker who was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2017, told a news portal.
However, the new treatment has many challenges to overcome before it shows it can be used to heal cancer patients. “When it is tested in a human we will see whether the immune system mounts a defence against the virus and knocks it off before it gets to the cancer or there could be nasty side effects," Cancer Council chief Professor Sanchia Aranda told a news portal. Adding, "Cancer cells are very clever, they are true Darwinians that mutate to survive and there is a likelihood they will evolve to become resistant to the virus as they do now to become resistant to chemotherapy and immunotherapy."
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