Enzyme-equipped oncolytic viruses 'more effective against tumours'

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

Oncolytic viruses engineered to combat cancer cells can be made more effective by equipping them with a specific type of enzyme.

This was the discovery made during research at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G James Cancer Hospital and the Richard J Solove Research Institute, which suggests the technique can be used to treat brain tumours.

Scientists found that attaching the enzyme chondroitinase to anti-cancer viruses can help them to penetrate through the protein molecules that occupy spaces between cells and typically impede viral progression.

When the technique was tested among animals, it was shown to increase brain cancer survival rates by 52 percent, removing the tumour entirely in certain cases.

Study leader Balveen Kaur, an associate professor of neurological surgery, said: "Our results show for the first time that an oncolytic virus with this enzyme can spread more effectively through the tumour."

According to cancer charity Macmillan, brain tumours are more common among males than females, with the cause of most primary tumours still uncertain, although they have been associated with advanced age and certain genetic conditions.

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