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21 December 2012 Last updated at 01:14

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Trojan-horse therapy 'completely eliminates' cancer in mice
By James Gallagher
Health and science reporter, BBC News

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An experimental "Trojan-horse" cancer therapy has completely eliminated prostate cancer in experiments on mice, according to UK researchers. The team hid cancer killing viruses inside the immune system in order to sneak them into a tumour. Once inside, a study in the journal Cancer Research showed, tens of thousands of viruses were released to kill the cancerous cells. Experts labelled the study "exciting," but human tests are still needed. Using viruses to destroy rapidly growing tumours is an emerging field in cancer therapy, however one of the challenges is getting the viruses deep inside the tumour where they can do the damage. "The problem is penetration," Prof Claire Lewis from the University of Sheffield told the BBC. She leads a team which uses white blood cells as 'Trojan horses' to deliver the viral punch.

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After chemotherapy or radiotherapy is used to treat cancer, there is damage to the tissue. This causes a surge in white blood cells, which swamp the area to help repair the damage. "We're surfing that wave to get as many white blood cells to deliver tumour-busting viruses into the heart of a tumour," said Prof Lewis. Her team takes blood samples and extract macrophages, a part of the immune system which normally attacks foreign invaders. These are mixed with a virus which, just like HIV, avoids being attacked and instead becomes a passenger in the white blood cell. In the study, the mice were injected with the white blood cells two days after a course of chemotherapy ended. At this stage each white blood cell contained just a couple of viruses. However, once the macrophages enter the tumour the virus can replicate.

Harnessing the body's own immune system to deliver a deadly virus to tumours is an exciting approach.”
Dr Emma Smith Cancer Research UK

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" She said it was a "ground-breaking" concept. head of research at Prostate Cancer UK.html-to-pdf. all the mice who were given the Trojan treatment were still alive and had no signs of tumours. said: "It demonstrates that this innovative method of delivering a tumour-killing virus direct to the cancer site is successful at reducing the development of advanced prostate tumours in mice which have been treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. and kill. "This study shows it has the potential to make chemotherapy and radiotherapy more effective weapons against cancer. it could mark substantial progress in finding better treatments for men with prostate cancer which has spread to the About BBC News Page 2 / 3 . Prof Lewis said: "It completely eradicates the tumour and stops it growing back. mice given other treatments died and their cancer had spread. said: "Harnessing the body's own immune system to deliver a deadly virus to tumours is an exciting approach that many scientists are pursuing. She said the research was still at an early stage and tests to show it is safe and effective in humans are still needed.000 viruses each . HEALTH Related Internet links Cancer Research UK Prostate Cancer UK The University of Sheffield Yorkshire Cancer Research Around the BBC BBC Health The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites Share this page More Health stories Mother loses cancer court battle A seven-year-old boy can be given radiotherapy treatment against his mother's wishes. the cancerous cells.After about 12 hours the white blood cells burst and eject up to 10. She hopes to begin human trials next year. Bells toll for US school victims Italy's Monti expected to resign Gone At the end of the 40-day study. "If this treatment goes on to be successful in human trials. By comparison. Dr Kate Holmes. from Cancer Research UK. Whooping cough cases decreasing Flu season has started says HPA Services Generated with www." Video/Audio Gangnam Style hits one billion views Day the sea froze at Herne Bay Solstice and Mayan calendar marked BBC News Channel Protesters disrupt gun lobby speech Thatcher operation 'no big deal' Tsunami survivor's impossible story Troops raise money Gangnam Style Pawn shops prosper in hard times End of era for children's television More on This Story Related Stories 'Anti-cancer virus' shows promise 31 AUGUST 2011. a judge rules. HEALTH Herpes virus used to treat cancer 02 AUGUST 2010.which go on to infect. Dr Emma Smith. but cautioned that many remarkable advances in treating mice failed to have any effect in people. Page 3 / 3 . Generated with www. Read more.Mobile Connected TV News feeds Alerts E-mail news Mobile site Editors' blog BBC College of Journalism News sources Terms of Use Privacy Cookies Parental Guidance About the BBC BBC Help Accessibility Help Contact Us BBC © 2012 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.