In a significant step forward for the development of a potential new cancer treatment, scientists have found how a common cold virus can kill tumours and trigger an immune response, like a vaccine, when injected into the blood stream.
Researchers from Britain's Leeds University and the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) said by hitching a ride on blood cells, the virus was protected from antibodies in the blood stream that might otherwise neutralise its cancer-fighting abilities.
The findings suggest viral therapies like this, called reovirus, could be injected into the blood stream at routine outpatient appointments - like standard chemotherapy - making them potentially suitable for treating a range of cancers.
The study, part-funded by the charity Cancer Research UK and conducted on 10 patients with advanced bowel cancer, confirmed that reovirus attacks on two fronts - killing cancer cells directly and triggering an immune response that helps eliminate leftover cancer cells.
"Viral treatments like reovirus are showing real promise in patient trials. This study gives us the very good news that it should be possible to deliver these treatments with a simple injection into the blood stream," said Kevin Harrington from ICR, who co-led the study and published it in the journal Science Translational Medicine on Wednesday.
Harrington said if viral treatments had been found only to work when injected directly into tumours, that would have been a significant barrier to their widespread use.
"But the finding that they can hitch a ride on blood cells will potentially make them relevant to a broad range of cancers," he said.
Reovirus is being investigated by several research teams around the world - including scientists at Canada's Oncolytics Biotech Inc - because it has shown an ability to infect and kill cancer cells without affecting normal tissue.
"We also confirmed that reovirus was specifically targeting cancer cells and leaving normal cells alone, which we hope should mean fewer side-effects for patients," Harrington said.
Cancer killed 7.6 million people worldwide in 2008, the most recent year for which the World Health Organisation has full data. The number of cancer cases is expected to surge by more than 75 percent across the world by 2030.
The 10 patients in the study were all due to have surgery on tumours that had spread to their livers. During outpatient appointments in the weeks before their surgery, they were given up to five doses of the experimental reovirus treatment.
When researchers looked at pieces of tissue removed during surgery up to four weeks later, they found what they described as "viral factories" of active virus in the tumour - but not in the normal liver tissue.
This confirmed the reovirus had been delivered specifically to the cancer cells after being injected into the blood stream.
"It seems that reovirus is even cleverer than we had thought," said University of Leeds' researcher Alan Melcher.
"By piggybacking on blood cells, the virus is managing to hide from the body's natural immune response and reach its target intact. This could be hugely significant for the uptake of viral therapies like this in clinical practice."
The researchers found that on average the rate of tuberculosis (TB) in big cities was twice the rate of the national TB incidence
Residual sour gas was then burnt in flares at Kashagan's processing plants, polluting the environment, the ministry said in a statement.
Researchers from Britain and the United States found what they describe as the first hard evidence that malaria creeps to higher elevations during warmer years
The CPC's latest outlook brings the forecaster in line with other global meteorologists that have raised their outlook for El Nino's potential return this year.
The child is the second case, following an earlier instance in Mississippi, in which doctors may have brought HIV in a newborn into remission by administering antiretroviral drugs in the first hours of life.
"We will resolutely declare war against pollution as we declared war against poverty," PM Li told the almost 3,000 delegates to the country's largely rubber-stamp legislature in a wide-ranging address carried live on state television.
The research, which lends weight to campaigns for smoking to be banned in private cars and homes, found passive smoking leads to a thickening of children's artery walls, adding some 3.3 years to the age of blood vessels by adulthood.
Professor Jean-Michel Claverie, from the National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS) at the University of Aix-Marseille in France, said "this is the first time we've seen a virus that's still infectious after this length of time."
The 76-year-old man died on Sunday, 75 days after the operation, the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris said in a statement, adding that the cause of his death could not be known for sure at this stage.
Pacific islanders were eating fewer coconuts as a source of fat and many people in Southeast Asia were getting fewer calories from rice
The researchers had been able to clone the antibodies and would test if they were able to give immunity to a person without the virus
The condition of the baby with kidney disease returns to normal after doctors in the Turkish city of Konya decide against abortion to begin treatment in the womb
Australia's conservative government approved plans to dredge 3 million cubic metres of sand for the port expansion
Frequent nightmares were very common for one in ten children, especially between the ages of three and seven, but effects resulting from nightmares were much more severe in 12-year-olds.
The JAMA Psychiatry suggested that tihis was in connection to sperm mutations in men who become fathers relatively late in life, after comparing children of 24-year-old fathers and 45-year-old fathers.
Millions of people around the world go to bed hungry every night, and yet millions of tons of food end up in trash cans or spoiled on the way to market.