Doctors modify herpes virus to fight cancer

Doctors modify herpes virus to fight cancer


A recent investigation revealed an experimental treatment that promises to be effective against advanced melanoma (an aggressive type of cancer): it is a strain of the modified herpes virus.

According to figures from the World Health Organization, cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide; Only 10 million deaths are attributed to this disease in 2020 alone. What this potential treatment option does is revolutionary.

How can herpes fight cancer?

According to the study carried out by the David Geffen School of Medicine, it is a generically modified version of herpes simplex that usually manifests itself on the lips (T-VEC). Its job is to directly “kill” cancer cells, using a protein that attracts immune cells to the cancer.

“It has become a gold standard treatment for advanced melanoma and is also used to treat non-small cell lung cancer, cancers of the head, neck, kidney and bladder, and Hodgkin’s disease. It works by removing the “brakes” of the body’s immune system, which allows it to attack cancer”, describes Dr. Antonio Ribas, leader of the research.

What is melanoma?

This type of skin cancer originates when melanocytes begin to grow uncontrollably. It is one of the less frequent types of skin cancer, but for this reason it is more dangerous.

This treatment has yet to face testing, but it is encouraging to see that viruses can also benefit our health. Don’t you think?