Common cold virus could kill bladder cancer cells, according to new study

Strain of Common Cold Virus Attacks and Destroys Bladder Cancer Cells

Strain of Common Cold Virus Attacks and Destroys Bladder Cancer Cells

All signs of the disease disappeared in one patient, and in 14 others there was evidence that cancer cells had died.

The study, with the Royal Surrey County Hospital, involved non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, which is found in the tissue of the inner surface of the bladder.

A bladder cancer charity called the study "very exciting" if larger studies confirmed the findings.

Hardev Pandha, Principal Investigator of the study and Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Surrey, said: "Non-muscle invasive bladder cancer is a highly prevalent illness that requires an intrusive and often lengthy treatment plan".

During this pioneering study fifteen NMIBC patients, one week prior to pre scheduled surgery to remove their tumours, received CVA21 via a catheter in the bladder.

Often, tumours in the bladder do not have immune cells, stopping a patient's own immune system from eliminating the cancer as it develops.

When tissue samples were analysed post-surgery, there were signs the virus had targeted and killed cancer cells in the bladder. The research suggested that this strain of the virus can help other immune cells to infect the cancer cells.

"The virus gets inside cancer cells and kills them by triggering an immune protein - and that leads to signalling of other immune cells to come and join the party", he said. This results in "hot tumours" that have been shown to be more likely to be targeted by immune cells than "cold tumours".

"Reduction of tumour burden and increased cancer cell death was observed in all patients, and removed all trace of the disease in one patient following just one week of treatment, showing its potential effectiveness". The immunotherapy treatment Bacille Calmette-Guerin has also been found to have serious side effects with one third of patients not responding to the treatment at all.

In every case, cancer cells had been destroyed and in one case, all traces of the disease had gone, the study found. Scientists said they were "very excited" about the findings - for patients with bladder cancer - which could also bring hope to those suffering from other forms of the disease.

They said the virus could become a "universal agent" to fight cancer, replacing conventional treatments like chemotherapy.

Allen Knight, chairman of Action Bladder Cancer UK, said bladder cancer cost the NHS more per patient than almost every other cancer, because of the high recurrence rate.

In a paper published to Clinical Cancer Research, researchers from the University of Surrey investigated the safety and tolerability of exposure to the cancer-killing virus coxsackievirus (CVA21) in 15 patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC).

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