Despite the many hurdles presented by malignant mesothelioma, researchers continue working to find a way to defeat this asbestos-related disease. Malignant mesothelioma is one of the most challenging forms of cancer that medical science has encountered. In addition to the condition having a remarkably long latency period and being incredibly aggressive, it also presents challenges in the form of its uncanny ability to withstand even the most robust and aggressive medical treatment protocols. Virotherapy is a promising approach that converts viruses into biological warriors that seek out and attack cancer cells, but thus far mesothelioma cells have proven able to fend off this approach. Now researchers in Hong Kong have found a way to counter the cancer’s apparent resistance to this protocol.
Virotherapy Arms Viruses With Cancer-Killing Drugs
When virotherapy is used to treat malignant mesothelioma, the idea is to program modified viruses so that they seek out the cancer’s cells while carrying medications to kill the cells or new genetic information to correct the cell’s mutation. Unfortunately, when using this protocol on mesothelioma, researchers have determined that it is something of a double-edged sword: while killing the mesothelioma cells, the techniques has also suppressed the release of white blood cells called CTLs that are part of the body’s natural defense against cancer.
Scientists Believe Virotherapy is Best Combined with Immunotherapy
This response eliminates one of the body’s most effective tools, so a group of scientists from the University of Hong Kong set out to find a way to take advantage of virotherapy’s strengths while countering its weaknesses. Their solution was to combine virotherapy with a second protocol that would activate the immune response. This secondary protocol could be the administration of an immunotherapy drug or of an approach called immunovirotherapy, in which viruses are programmed to drive an immune response.
Though the use of viruses to attack malignant mesothelioma is relatively new, it offers great promise. To learn more about state-of-the-art cancer strategies, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today. We can be reached by calling 1-800-692-8608, and are here to help.