Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A quick medical post

I saw this (traced back to this) on my livejournal friendlist.

Its an article about some promising research on how to combat cancer. It would seem that reovirus, a virus that is common but does not harm humans, has the ability to kill cancer stem cells. Even in the event that all other cancer cells are eliminated cancer stem cells are able to continue to grow and cause tumors. Even in limited numbers these "mother cells" are able to multiply aggressively (which I suppose would explain how cancer goes into remission and then "returns" later).

The initial testing of the reovirus' capabilities was performed on breast cancer tissue that was harvested from an actual patient unlike most test samples are come from those meant specifically for lab use. In the testing the reovirus not only destroyed cancer cells and cancer stem cells but it also triggered an antiviral response. This response gives hope to the idea that it may be possible to have a person's own immune system to develop antibodies that would combat caner. 'Refining this two-pronged approach to killing cancer is our next step,' says Dr. Patrick Lee, who along with post-doctoral fellow Shashi Gujar will be working on the immune response properties of the viurs.

If successful this render chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries obsolete and usher in an new era in which cancer would no longer be a death sentence. High hopes indeed.