At the moment the treatment only works on prostate and breast cancer, the most prevalent cancer among women, but the team wants to expand the project so they can modify the virus to work on other tumours.
Before other tumours could be targeted Dr Faith Howard there were some hurdles to overcome: “The problem is that oncolytic viruses attract the attention of the body’s immune defences and only skin-deep tumours can be tackled this way before the viruses are blocked fairly quickly by our cell defences.”
The solution to this is to coat the viruses in magnetic particles.
Dr Muthana described this process as “like having a coat of armour or a shield” as the magnets “help protect the virus but crucially they also help them target a tumour”.
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