Nothing is impossible..

Things, you think are absolutely harmful, may be highly beneficial if we use them in a new way.

Viruses can be used in the treatment of cancer, a field known as oncolytic virotherapy.

But can you imagine that they are safer & highly specific than other traditional chemotherapy???

You will get the key when you know that they destroy cancer cells with a high accuracy that scientists called them “magic bullet”.

Simply, the mechanism of most viruses is to infect our cells, then to use them as a factory to produce more & more viruses.

Viruses are highly specific, they replicate in cells having receptors for them. So, we need to change viruses to selectively bind to tumors.

In fact, a virus consists of a coat & genome.

So, we got two methods to generate tumor selectivity.

First: By making modification on viral coat in order to increase adhesion between coat & cancer cells “Transductional Targeting”.

Second: By altering viral genome, so it can only replicate in cancer cells “Non-Transductional targeting”.

However, many primary cancers were resistant to conventional virotherapy.

Researchers at McGill University and the affiliated Lady Davis Research Institute of the Jewish General Hospital, along with colleagues at the University of Ottawa and the Ottawa Health Research Institute (OHRI) have discovered that a family of compounds called histone deacetylase inhibitors “HDI” which convert oncolytic viruses into more potent weapon.

So, HDI can augment the ability of the virus to target & kill the cancer cells.Vesicular stomatitis virus

Many viruses can be used especially those with dsDNA
genomes “as
adenovirus and herpes simplex virus
where they have a higher stability & less susceptible for mutations.

Researchers utilize Vesicular Stomatitis Virus “VSV” as it is not a human pathogen. So, most individuals don’t have antibodies against it & can be treated before they gain immunity.

Human trials have been already approved & the results of these experiments will determine if this viral bullet is really a “magic bullet”.

Source: ScienceDaily

Image credits: Vesicular Stomatitis Virus

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5 Responses to “Viruses: Our new friends…”
  1. That is outstanding, but I don’t quite understand the part about utilizing VSV. Wouldn’t the absence of antibodies possess a harmful threat that the virus might modify itself to transform into a human pathogen especially when the coast is clear like that??

  2. I think the whole issue is the same idea of PVY virus u told us a bout before, Radwa.
    this VSV doesn’t cause a human disease as I got from the post.I think even the abcense of antibodies wouldn’t make it develop into a harmful one.

  3. Hosam allam says:

    I think it doesn’t cause a disease, as it is genetically modified to work in cancer cells…
    Having an advantage is that most people don’t have antibodies as it is not pathogenic…
    That’s what I guess..

  4. first I want to thank you ,realy it’s a good topic but I can’t completely understand the DNA virus part, you said that we have 2 methods to generate tumor selectivity.wouldn’t the high stability of DNA virus withstand change in selectivity

  5. Hosam allam says:

    Thank, hope you are interested… :)
    I think you are right…
    But I said…
    “First: By making modification on viral coat in order to increase adhesion between coat & cancer cells “Transductional Targeting”.

    Second: By altering viral genome, so it can only replicate in cancer cells “Non-Transductional targeting”.

    So, we make alteration in both the coat & genome in order to:
    First: increase adhesion.
    Second: replication takes place only in cancer cells.

    In few words, we make a change in the coat & genome in order to increase adhesion & selectivity.

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