Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Cancer-hunting Viruses

Tumour-killing viruses can avoid immune neutralisation by hitching a ride on blood cells

26 October 2020

Cancer-hunting Viruses

Viruses have a reputation for causing us harm but a special group of viruses which target tumour cells – oncolytic adenoviruses – are now being developed to treat cancer. Researchers look at the potential of one such virus called Ad5/3. Mice with compromised immune systems and tumours had Ad5/3 injected into their bloodstream. Ad5/3 was able to bind to and then be released from blood cells, as captured here on a white cell using scanning electron microscopy. Travelling on these cells, Ad5/3 (red) reached, invaded and specifically killed tumour cells. What’s more, it was able to do this in the presence of neutralising antibodies, which the body creates to destroy viruses. This provides new hope for Ad5/3 as a future cancer therapy.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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