How Viruses Can Be Powerful Weapons for Curing Cancer

  • André Biernath – @andre_biernath
  • From BBC News Brazil in London

Illustration of a cancer developing

Credit, Getty Images

photo caption,

Some viruses have a higher affinity for cancer cells and can help to destroy them.

Viruses have always been seen as the great villains of health – a notion that is even stronger during a pandemic like the one we are experiencing, in which the cause of covid has been associated with 20 million deaths so far.

But within oncology, a specialty of medicine that deals with cancer, some of these infectious agents are increasingly seen as allies: viruses can become a valuable tool to treat a range of tumors, experts point out.

Currently, several research groups are evaluating the possibility of using so-called oncolytic viruses as a way to directly attack cancer cells or to encourage a more robust immune system response against these diseased units.

The most recent example of this scientific endeavor is CF33-hNIS Vaxinia, a virustherapy developed by City of Hope, a hospital located in the United States, and Australian pharmaceutical company Imugene.

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