Categories: Sci/Tech

Bladder Cancer Could Be “Killed” By the Common Cold, According to Study

This could result to a potential alternative to conventional treatments such as chemotherapy.

  • The virus can “help revolutionise treatment” for cancer and lessen the chances of recurrence, according to University of Surrey researchers.
  • It reproduced and infected the other cancer cells, but healthy cells remained intact.
  • No side effects were observed among patients in the said study.

Researchers from the University of Surrey held a small study that resulted to a strain of the common cold virus killing bladder cancer cells. The researchers said that the virus can “help revolutionize treatment” for the disease and lessen the chances of recurrence.

One week before surgery for tumor removal, 15 patients with bladder cancer were adminstered the cancer-killing coxsackievirus (CVA21) via catheters. After the surgery, their tissue samples were analyzed and they saw signs that the CVA21 had targeted and destroyed the cancer cells.

They saw the the virus reproduced and infected the other cancer cells, but the healthy cells remained intact.
According to Hardev Pandha, the study leader from the University of Surrey and Royal Surrey County Hospital, what the virus did is “special.”

“The virus gets inside cancer cells and kills them by triggering an immune protein – and that leads to signalling of other immune cells to come and join the party,” he said.

Under normal circumstances, the bladder tumors do not immune cells to ward off the cancer. The actions of the coxsackievirus enabled the body’s immune system to react against the disease.

The virus had been tested on skin cancer too, according to Pandha. This was the first time that it was used in a clinical trial for bladder cancer.

The common way to administer treatment for bladder cancer.

“Reduction of tumour burden and increased cancer cell death was observed in all patients, and removed all trace of the disease in one patient following just one week of treatment, showing its potential effectiveness. Notably, no significant side effects were observed in any patient,” the professor said.

The team is now planning to use the common cold virus with checkpoint inhibitor, which is a targeted immunotherapy drug treatment, in future trials.

Dr. Nicola Annels, research fellow at the University of Surrey, said that the viruses similar to coxsackievirus could mean a potential alternative from chemotherapy and other established treatments.

Other experts were highly encouraged by the results of the study. Allen Knight, chairman of Action Bladder Cancer UK, said that if this proved successful in bigger clinical studies and trials, it could usher in a new era in treatment for non-muscle invasive bladder cancer patients.

Dr. Mark Linch, a bladder cancer expert at the Cancer Research UK Cancer Institute at University College London, said that it would be very interesting to see how this new therapy would do in larger trials involving patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, particularly in combination with newer immunotherapies.

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