It reminds me of something I saw in a science fiction film a while back. They shrank a man small enough to be injected into another man‘s body...so he could fly around in a tiny spaceship and blast away "bad things."
Now, replace the tiny man and his tiny spaceship with specially "trained" viruses and believe it or not, we‘re back into reality.
Researchers at the Ohio State University comprehensive Cancer Center have modified a common virus to pass through healthy cells and destroy cancer cells.
The virus is able to pass into the cancer cell and then replicate itself several times over until the cancer cell literally explodes.
So far animal studies targeting brain cancer cells have shown great promise. According to researcher Dr. Balveen Kaur, "Even at the late stage of their tumor, burden has led to significant enhancement and survival, and sometimes even cures of some animals."
The biggest challenge with the treatment, so far, is that often times the body‘s own immune system kills off the viruses before they can kill off the cancer. So Dr. Kaur is looking into ways to slow down the immune system just enough to allow the specialized viruses to do their work.
Although animal studies have been pretty successful, human studies are still a ways off. However, the treatment has worked successfully in healthy human brain tissue and appears to be safe.
Additional studies are looking at a two-pronged approach where the "trained" virus would be used in conjunction with drugs that prevent cancerous tumors from growing new blood vessels - essentially starving them and then attacking them.
Special thanks to the old sci-fi films for the life-saving idea. Now if we could just get our hands on the flying cars!