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  • Does the Common Cold Have a Silver Lining?

Does the Common Cold Have a Silver Lining?

Aug 26 2019 Read 846 Times

From itchy eyes and a runny nose to aching muscles and blocked sinuses, the common cold has been afflicting humans for millennia. Now, a new report published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research asserts the virus could play an important role in infecting and killing off bladder cancer cells. 

The study was pioneered by scientists at the University of Surrey in the UK and involved 15 patients diagnosed with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. The scientists then used a catheter to infect each patient with CVA21, a live strain of coxsackievirus that triggers a common cold virus with flu-like symptoms.

Live strain of coxsackievirus destroys bladder cancer cells

One week after the patients were infected, while performing surgery to remove cancerous cells in the bladder, the scientists noticed evidence suggesting CVA21 had targeted and destroyed the malignant cells. The researchers even reported the complete destruction of all bladder cancer cells in one patient. While the study is small and still in the initial stages, the team hope it would mark an exciting step forward for non-muscle invasive bladder cancer research.

"Non-muscle invasive bladder cancer is a highly prevalent illness that requires an intrusive and often lengthy treatment plan. Current treatment is ineffective and toxic in a proportion of patients and there is an urgent need for new therapies,” explains Hardev Pandha, Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Surrey and principal investigator of the study.

CVA21 could emerge as "revolutionary" cancer treatment

Pandha explains that when CVA21 infiltrates the human body it infects cancerous cells and rapidly replicates itself. This forces cancerous cells to burst and die. It also causes inflammation of the infected tumours which triggers “immunological heat” within the bladder. This boosts the efforts of the immune system and further helps to combat and kill the malignant cells.

"Coxsackievirus could help revolutionise treatment for this type of cancer," adds Pandha. "Reduction of tumour burden and increased cancer cell death was observed in all patients and removed all trace of the disease in one patient following just one week of treatment, showing its potential effectiveness."

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