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Author Topic: Could viruses be engineered to attack cancer selectively?  (Read 3856 times)

Michael

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Michael asked the Naked Scientists:

Hi Naked Scientists, I love the show please keep it up.

My question is this:

Would it be possible to engineer a virus in the lab which binds onto surface proteins of cancer cells, then use the virus's nature to destroy cancer specific cells (not healthy cells)? Once cancer is treated you could treat the virus with simple antibiotics.

What do you think?


 

Offline beren323

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Could viruses be engineered to attack cancer selectively?
« Reply #1 on: 31/10/2008 16:21:46 »
I'm not an expert in the field but, probably not. the very reason cancer is such a problem is that our body's immune system recognizes cancer as part of our body and doesn't attack it. a cancer cell looks exactly the same as a healthy cell on the outside. the only difference between the two is a cancer cell doesn't trigger apoptosis (programmed cell death) when it is time for the cell to stop multiplying and die. from the outside the two types of cells are identical and a virus would not be able to tell the difference between the two.
 

Offline Pseudogene

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Could viruses be engineered to attack cancer selectively?
« Reply #2 on: 31/10/2008 19:06:51 »
I'm not an expert in the field but, probably not. the very reason cancer is such a problem is that our body's immune system recognizes cancer as part of our body and doesn't attack it. a cancer cell looks exactly the same as a healthy cell on the outside. the only difference between the two is a cancer cell doesn't trigger apoptosis (programmed cell death) when it is time for the cell to stop multiplying and die. from the outside the two types of cells are identical and a virus would not be able to tell the difference between the two.

Actually there are very specific differences between certain cancer types and normal healthy cells, it's the reason we're able to target specific cell surface receptors with drugs and antibodies.

Additionally the immune can and does recognise tumurous cells, one of its main functions is to induce PCD by cytokine release.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Could viruses be engineered to attack cancer selectively?
« Reply #2 on: 31/10/2008 19:06:51 »

 

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