Monday, January 10, 2011

Common Virus Kills Cancer Stem Cells

This is not super new, but I was really excited to read it!

It wasn't until some years ago that researchers realized the significance (and imminent danger) of cancer stem cells. However, it became clear quite quickly that they needed to be eliminated.  Cancer stem cells rapidly and continuously divide uninhibited and unstimulated by appropriate growth factors.  Cancer stem cells not only respond poorly to chemotherapy and radiation, but can also regenerate an entire population of cancer cells.

In 2009 researchers from Dalhousie Medical School discovered that the Reo virus targets and eliminates cancer stem cells. Clinical tests were performed both in the Dalhousie Medical labs and also at Oncolytics Biotech Inc.. The virus presents a great alternative to radiation therapies because it not only effectively eliminates cancer cells, but it also stimulates the immune system (rather than destroying it). There potential for viral-based anti-cancer therapies is incredible.


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