Scientists engineer potential cancer treatment virus

In collaboration with the Press Association

US scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre have found a way to engineer viruses so that they might one day be able to find, highlight and deliver therapy to cancer cells.

The discovery, which remains in the earliest stages of laboratory testing, has the potential be a useful way of identifying, monitoring and treating cancer.

The team achieved their results by combining a mammalian virus with a virus which only affects bacteria. The resulting hybrid was able to bind specifically to cancer cells, leaving normal tissue unharmed.

"In tumour-bearing mice, we show that this hybrid virus can target tumours," said the co-leader of the study, Renata Pasqualini, professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology.

"Although we have yet to translate these hybrid viruses for use in humans, we hope that this new system will have future clinical applications," said Dr Wadih Arap, the co-leader of the study and professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology.

Find out more about how viruses can be used to treat cancer