A team of American and Spanish scientists believe they have made an important discovery in the treatment of brain cancer. They have used a genetically engineered form of the common cold virus to destroy human brain tumour cells that had been injected into mice. This report from Tony Charlesworth:
The results of this research on mice are so remarkable that the National Cancer Institute and the US Food and Drug Administration want to try it out on brain cancer patients.
One of the leaders of the study, Dr Frederic Lang of the University of Texas, said the mice had still be alive after one hundred and forty days with no tumours present when their brains were then examined. He said that previously mice injected with human brain tumour cells had died after only twenty. Dr Lang said these were exciting results but he was careful to say that success with humans wasn't guaranteed.
Even so, the National Cancer Institute is intrigued enough to be providing a million dollars of funding to produce enough of the genetically engineered cold virus and begin enrolling patients with brain tumours as early as the end of the next year.
people who are ill with a growth, or tumour, on their brain
looked at very closely
produced through genetic engineering - the science of changing the cells that control physical characteristics in a living organisms in order to make it stronger or more suitable for a particular purpose