Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Polio Virus Could Be A Surprising Weapon Against Even The Deadliest Of Cancers

When 22-year-old Stephanie Lipscomb started getting headaches, she never imagined the nightmarish reason they were appearing. That didn't mean she didn't take them seriously since they grew so debilitating that they affected her ability to feed, dress and bathe herself. When her brain scans came back, doctors discovered a tumor the size of a tennis ball behind her right eye.

Lipscomb was suffering from glioblastoma, one of the deadliest forms of brain cancer there is. Patients with this disease often survive for only 14 months because it's known to return soon after the tumor is removed. Two years after Lipscomb's surgery, that's what happened to her.

Her doctor still had one last option for her. She could enroll in a clinical trial at Duke University testing a cancer-killing treatment using the polio virus.

As you'll find out from the full video, this wasn't quite as risky as it sounded.

As Dr. John Sampson points out in the video, using viruses to eliminate cancer is not a new idea. Part of what makes cancer so deadly is its ability to stay under your immune system's radar. So by injecting a virus like polio into tumor cells, it shines a floodlight on the tumor from inside, and the body then works to destroy it. In the case of the polio virus, it goes farther by taking initiative and working to kill the cancer cells in its own.

But for decades, it's was almost impossible to collect the right amount of the virus to do the job. Before now, the results were either too weak to affect the cancer cells or so strong that they threatened the patient's life.

However, significant advancements in genetic engineering have allowed scientists to remove the part of the polio virus that causes the disease by splicing it with a common cold virus. That way, only the cancer cells are targeted.

In the years since Stephanie Lipscomb tried this treatment, her tumor has shrunk down to the size of a pea and it's still getting smaller. Of the 22 patients involved in the study, three of them are now cancer-free.

While the research team at Duke are cautious about calling this a cure yet, they're also looking forward to testing this on other cancers. They're confident it will work the same way since brain cancer isn't much different from most other types when it comes to their weakness to the virus.

To find out more about how this treatment works, don't forget to watch the full video.

COMMENT and let us know how you feel about this incredible treatment.

Main and collage image via ABC News | Duke University Medical Center


Author: verified_user