Scientists in London find that cancer tumors in terminally ill patients are eradicated by the herpes virus

A genetically engineered herpes virus is the new hope for beating cancer after scientists found tumors in terminally ill patients were eradicated or shrunk using the breakthrough new therapy.

A first trial at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London revealed that a modified version of the herpes simplex virus showed signs of effectiveness in a quarter of cancer patients at the end of life.

The infection, which also causes oral and sexually transmitted ulcers, works against the cancer by producing molecules to trigger an immune system response and infect and destroy the cancer.

It was tested on 39 cancer patients, including people with skin, esophageal and head and neck tumors.

A west London patient has hailed it as a “true miracle” after he was able to return to work as a builder.

A genetically modified herpes virus is the new hope for beating cancer after scientists found that tumors in terminally ill patients were eradicated using the new therapy. Image: stock image

Krzysztof Wojkowski, 39, was diagnosed with mucoepidermoid carcinoma, a type of salivary gland cancer, in May 2017 and after multiple surgeries, was told there were no treatment options left.

“I had injections every two weeks for five weeks that completely eradicated my cancer,” he said. ‘I’ve been cancer free for two years, it’s a real miracle, there’s no other word to describe it.

“I’ve been able to get back to work as a builder and spend time with my family, there’s nothing I can’t do.”

Mr Wojkowski added: “I was told I had no options left and was receiving end of life care, it was devastating, so it was amazing to be given the opportunity to join the trial at The Royal Marsden , it was my end. lifeline.’

It was tested on 39 patients with cancers including skin, oesophageal and head and neck cancer, including one west London patient who hailed it as a ‘real miracle’ after he was able to return to work as a builder (stock image of a woman giving support). patient)

The research team hopes to move on to larger trials after presenting the study at the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress.

Study leader Professor Kevin Harrington, Professor of Biological Cancer Therapies at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, said: “Our study shows that a genetically modified, cancer-killing virus can give a double whammy against tumors, directly destroying the cancer cells within while also calling on the immune system to attack them.

Oral herpes can be spread by kissing or brushing teeth

Herpes 1, or oral herpes, is the most common strain of the virus, affecting about two-thirds of all people under the age of 50.

Oral herpes gets its name because, of course, it mainly causes sores or blisters around the lips.

However, in the last two decades, it has become more common for HSV 1 ulcers to appear in the genital or anal areas.

HSV 2, or genital herpes, mainly affects these areas, and is less common, affecting only about 16 percent of the population.

During outbreaks of either, the viruses are highly transmissible.

HSV 1 can be spread by kissing or sharing objects such as utensils or toothbrushes.

In contrast, genital herpes can usually only be transmitted through sexual contact.

Once the HSV 2 virus is in someone’s body, it will be there for many years throughout their life and there is no cure.

But antiviral medications can keep outbreaks to a minimum and can reduce the risk of transmission.

Or at least they could, before HSV 2 and HSV 1 started having “sex”.

Source: NHS/ Healthline

Consultant oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, added: “It is rare to see such good response rates in early stage clinical trials, as their main aim is to test the safety of the treatment and they include patients with very advanced cancers to to which current treatments have stopped working.

“Our initial trial results suggest that a genetically modified form of the herpes virus could become a new treatment option for some patients with advanced cancer, including those who have not responded to other forms of immunotherapy. I look forward to seeing if we continue to see benefits as we treat increasing numbers of patients.”

The genetically modified RP2 virus, which is injected directly into tumors, is designed to have a dual action against tumors.

It multiplies inside cancer cells to burst them from within, and also blocks a protein known as CTLA-4, releasing the brakes on the immune system and increasing its ability to kill cancer cells.

Three out of nine patients treated with herpes benefited with one patient with salivary gland cancer seeing his tumor disappear completely and remaining cancer free 15 months after starting treatment.

Seven of 30 patients who received both RP2 and nivolumab immunotherapy also benefited from the treatment.

In the group, four out of nine melanoma skin cancer patients, two out of eight eye cancer uveal melanoma patients and one out of three head and neck cancer patients saw the growth of their cancer

Of the seven patients who received the combination who saw a benefit, six remained progression-free at 14 months.

Professor Kristian Helin, chief executive of the Institute of Cancer Research in London, said: “Viruses are one of humanity’s oldest enemies, as we have all seen during the pandemic. But our new research suggests that we can exploit some of the characteristics that make them challenge adversaries to infect and kill cancer cells.

“It’s a small study, but the initial findings are promising. I’m very hopeful that as this research expands, we’ll see patients continue to benefit.”

Leave a Reply