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Virus that does not cause disease can kill cancer cells

Adeno-associated virus type 2 (AAV2) can kill cancer cells of cervical, breast, prostate//, and squamous cell cancers in six days in laboratory conditions.

Penn State College of Medicine researchers who had conducted the study reported that the virus kills multiple types of cancer cells and yet is not known to cause any harm to the human beings.

The adeno-associated virus type 2 resides harmlessly in the human body and needs a helper virus in order to infect the host. In general this virus tends to check the growth of human papillomavirus (HPV) associated with cervical cancer. However, in cases where the AAV2 virus do finds a helper virus like HPV, the AAV2 virus can destroy the cells through a process called apoptosis or cell death.

Cancer cells often behave in a manner that is different from normal cells. The scientists call this deregulation. Aav2 virus seems to be able to identify cells, which have undergone deregulations, and kills them. Also the AAV2 virus is known to suppress cancer by decreasing cancer cell proliferation rates and arresting the growth of the cancer cells.

Reference: Penn State University, news release, June 2005

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