A genetically altered version of the cold-sore causing virus has been made available as a potential new treatment for skin cancer in a year’s time, scientist claimed.
Patient trials with advanced stages of cancer show encouraging result for inoperable and aggressive growth, which have shown that the treatment can destroy tumors and terminate their growth.
T-Vec, the name of the new generation treatment, is a virus-based drug, containing the same cold sore-causing herpes virus, genetically engineered to render it lethal to cancer cells but harmless to patients.
The modified virus cannot thrive in healthy skin cells, but will grow in tumor cells, which eventually kills it.
The immune system is stimulated by the modified virus, which causes the attack of leftover tumor proteins, providing, in some cases, long term immunity.
The last step before the licensing of a medicine, a phase-three clinical trial results, were published in the Clinical Oncology Journal.
Amgen, the pharmaceutical company who funded the researchers, led by the UK’s Institute of Cancer Research, discovered that one-fourth of the patients who were given T-Vec responded well to the treatment.
10 percent resulted to the complete disappearance of their tumors, while 16 percent resulted to their tumors shrinking by half.
The approval of the drug’s use is now being deliberated by European Medicines Agency, though it may be a year before a decision is reached.