The common cold may be a nuisance when there are a million and one things to do, but a new study looked at the other side of the coin, and found how the common cold virus can also bring something other than the sniffles to people.
The results of a study conducted by researchers from Leeds University in Britain and the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) determined that the common cold virus may be harnessed to kill tumors and trigger an immune response, similar to the effect brought about by a vaccine, when injected into the blood stream.
The common cold virus hitches a ride on blood cells, where they are protected from antibodies in the blood stream that may otherwise neutralize its ability to fight cancer.
The results of the study indicated that these viral therapies could be injected into the blood stream at routine outpatient appointments, in the same manner that standard chemotherapy is administered. This makes them potentially suitable for use as treatment for various cancers.
Kevin Harrington from ICR, co-lead of the study, shared: “Viral treatments like reovirus are showing real promise in patient trials. This study gives us very good news that it should be possible to deliver these treatments with a simple injection into the blood stream.”
The study, which was funded in part by the charity Cancer Research UK, involved 10 participants – patients suffering from advanced bowel cancer. The researchers found that reovirus attacked on two fronts: it killed cancer cells directly, as well as triggered an immune response that helps in the elimination of leftover cancer cells.