SKorean scientists say cancer-killing virus developed

SKorean scientists say cancer-killing virus developed
Oct 19 6:21 AM US/Eastern

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South Korean scientists have said they have developed a new genetically altered strain of virus which is highly efficient in targeting and killing cancer cells.
The new therapy developed by the team from Yonsei University uses a genetically-engineered form of the adenovirus, which normally causes colds.

The adenovirus was implanted with a human gene that is related to the production of relaxin, a hormone associated with pregnancy.

When injected into cancerous tumors, the virus quickly multiplies in the cancer cells and kills them, the team said.

The new adenovirus can target only cancer cells and does not harm normal cells, the team said.

Existing viral treatments fail to kill off all the cancerous cells.

“I believe we have found a way to overcome one of the great obstacles to finding a genetically altered viral cure for cancer,” Yun Chae-Ok, one of the researchers, told AFP on Thursday.

Following three rounds of injections, more than 90 percent of cancer cells in the brains, liver, lungs and womb of mice disappeared within 60 days, the team said.

Clinical tests will be carried out early next year and last 18 months, Yun said.

The research results were published in the October 18 edition of the prestigious bimonthly Journal of the National Cancer Institute in the United States.

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