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  • Ahmed Saleh

King Abdulaziz University study shows potential of modified viruses against cancer

Jeddah, April 04, 2024, The groundbreaking study conducted at King Abdulaziz University has showcased the promise of genetically modified viruses in targeting and eliminating cancer cells while sparing healthy cells. This innovative approach harnesses the innate ability of viruses to replicate within cells, with modifications to ensure selective targeting of cancerous cells.

The study, which concentrated on breast cancer, a prevalent form of cancer in women globally, introduces oncolytic immunotherapy as a potential breakthrough strategy for combating this disease. The focus was on a specific virus variant known as recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV), with an added molecule called interleukin-12 (hIL12) aimed at enhancing its efficacy against tumors.

Through rigorous genetic analysis, cell culture assays, and electron microscopy, the study successfully engineered and tested different iterations of the modified viruses. These viruses demonstrated the ability to infect and destroy cancer cell lines effectively while showing reduced impact on healthy cells, highlighting their potential for targeted cancer treatment.

Importantly, experiments conducted on mice with tumors revealed that treatment using the modified viruses significantly impeded tumor growth and increased survival rates compared to untreated mice. Notably, the hIL12-modified virus exhibited enhanced immune system activation, particularly stimulating natural killer cells to combat cancer cells.

These findings not only present a new frontier in breast cancer therapy but also pave the way for the development of these bioengineered viruses as a novel cancer vaccine platform. Future endeavors will likely focus on advancing this innovative therapy toward clinical trials, offering a promising avenue for enhancing cancer treatment and benefiting breast cancer patients worldwide.

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