Duke I&E

Targeting Cancer with Polio Virus

Published: 4 years ago | 0 comments

Earlier this century, doctors and medical researchers attacked the polio virus relentlessly, trying to eradicate it worldwide. Now, this crippling disease has new life – destroying glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer.

By injecting the re-engineered polio virus directly into the tumors, Duke faculty members and physicians John Sampson, M.D., Annick Desjardins, M.D., Matthias Gromeier, M.D., and Henry Friedman, M.D., are assaulting, shrinking, and killing these malignancies and giving patients a new shot at life. Using 3D MRI technology, they identify a path to directly inject the re-engineered polio virus into the tumor, killing the malignancies with a higher success rate than any previous therapies.

This treatment, featured recently on CBS 60 Minutes, is preferred because the polio virus searches for and attaches to a receptor found on cells that make up almost every type of solid tumor. Part of the polio virus DNA is removed and replaced with genetic code from a cold virus. This way, the modified polio virus can’t reproduce in normal cells, but it can in cancerous ones. And, when it replicates, it creates a toxin that kills tumor cells.

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