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Mayo Clinic Researchers Create 'Obedient Virus'; First Step To Use Measles Virus Against Cancer

cells" -- while at the same time conserving the viral component for targeting and destroying tumors. Mass production of a retargeted virus was not possible before this specific innovation of the molecular tag -- and research in this area was at an impasse. Not any more.

"The virus goes where it's meant to go, and it destroys the tumors in a targeted way," says Dr. Russell.

Background Biology

Natural viruses are cellular parasites. To reproduce more viruses, they need to bind to a partner on their target cell, fuse membranes to enter the target cell and then take over the cellular machinery. When they succeed in doing this, an infection occurs. Viruses are so good at taking over cells that researchers have long dreamed of exploiting the specific attraction viruses have to certain cells and using it as a homing device to seek and enter cancer cells.

The measles virus became the focus of this vision several years ago when the surprising finding was made that the measles strain used internationally for vaccinations has natural anticancer activity.

"But we had a concern that the measles virus may be a little too promiscuous in its ability to infect both cancer cells and non-cancer cells, so we wanted to develop a method whereby we could retarget the virus to infect cancer cells only," says Dr. Russell. "And we succeeded."


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Source:Mayo Clinic


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