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Virus can help treat brain tumours: Study

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LONDON: The virus can switch on the body's own defense system to attack the cancer in the brain, reaching its impact from the blood stream to the brain, which is encased by a membrane.

A virus injected directly into the bloodstream can reach tumours deep inside the brain and switch on the body’s own defence system to attack them, a study has found.

The University of Leeds and The Institute of Cancer Research scientists in London have found that the naturally occurring virus could act as an effective immunotherapy in patients with brain cancer or other cancers that have spread to the brain.

The study showed that a type of virus, called reovirus, could cross the blood-brain barrier to reach tumours, where it is hoped they will replicate and kill the cancer cells.

The scientists have also found that the virus was able to 'switch-on' the body's own defence systems to attack the cancer.

This therapy could be used in conjunction with other cancer therapies to make them more potent.

As the virus infects only the cancer cells and leaves healthy cells alone, patients receiving the treatment reported only mild flu-like side effects.

So far, scientists thought it was unlikely that the virus would be able to pass from the blood into the brain because of the blood-brain barrier, a protective membrane around the brain.

That would have meant that the only way they could get the virus into the brain was to inject it directly into the brain?

Virus therapy is challenging, would not be suitable for all patients, and cannot be regularly repeated.

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