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Cancer Drug Helps An Anti-Cancer Virus To Act More Exhaustively

In a new study researchers claim to have discovered how a specific chemotherapy drug helps a cancer-killing virus // .

The research that was conducted on the use of a virus in animals for the treatment of incurable human brain tumours, had been led by scientists from the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, and has been published in the August 22nd issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Cancer Institute had also supported this research by funding them.

They explained that a modified herpes simplex virus, when injected directly into the tumour, enters only the cancer cells and kills them. They however found that that within hours of the injection, infection-fighting immune cells are collected into the tumour to attack the virus, there by reducing the effectiveness of the treatment. While trying to figure out a solution for this problem they found that a chemotherapeutic drug called cyclophosphamide has the ability to briefly weaken these immune cells, thereby giving the anti-cancer virus an opening to spread entirely through the tumour enabling it to kill more cancer cells.

Specifically, the drug slows the activity of immune cells called natural killer (NK) cells and macrophages, which are the body's first line of defence against infections.

The virus and drug cannot be used yet in humans because they require further study, as well as testing for safety and effectiveness through the clinical trials process.

'Our findings suggest that we can use this drug to limit the action of these early responding immune cells, giving the virus time to grow and destroy the tumour,' says study leader E. Antonio Chiocca, professor and chair of neurological surgery and director of OSU's Dardinger centre for neuro-oncology.

'They also suggest that the drug may allow us to temporarily inhibit j
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