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Virus Shows Some Cancer-Killing Abilities
Date:10/30/2007

Results are promising but preliminary, experts caution,,,,

TUESDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- While most people associate viruses with human illness, a new study suggests that at least one virus might have cancer-fighting abilities that could be used to treat some metastatic cancers.

Reporting in the Nov. 7 issue of Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers explained that the virus, Seneca Valley Virus-001 (SVV-001), was effective in treating lines of cells from small-cell lung cancer and some pediatric cancers, as well as lung cancer and eye cancer in immune-deficient mice.

"In animal studies, we found complete eradication of small-cell lung cancer," said the study's lead author, Paul Hallenbeck, founder, president and chief scientific officer of Neotropix, in Malvern, Pa. "This is a promising new, yet old, approach to a very serious disease," added Hallenbeck, noting that people first noticed that viruses had some effect on cancer as long as 100 years ago.

However, at least one expert advised caution when interpreting these findings about the virus and metastatic cancer, which is cancer that has spread from one site in the body to another.

"These initial results look promising and warrant further investigation, but this is a very early study done in cell lines and an animal model," said Dr. Jay Brooks, chairman of hematology and oncology at Ochsner Health System in Baton Rouge, La. Brooks said there are still many questions that need to be answered about this virus, such as what are the long-term effects in humans, how expensive is it, will it continue to work in the long run, and would you have to be on it for the rest of your life?

Hallenbeck and his colleagues hope to answer the safety question shortly. They're in the midst of a phase I clinical trial that includes 18 people. Phase I trials are designed solely to look at whether or not a product is safe to admin
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