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Scientists have equipped a virus that kills carcinoma cells with a protein so it can also target and kill adjacent cells that are tricked into shielding the cancer from the immune system.

Modified virus used to kill cancer cells.jpg

It is the first time that cancer-associated fibroblasts within solid tumours – healthy cells that are tricked into protecting the cancer from the immune system and supplying it with growth factors and nutrients – have been specifically targeted in this way.

The researchers, who were primarily funded by the MRC and Cancer Research UK, say that if further safety testing is successful, the dual-action virus – which they have tested in human cancer samples and in mice – could be tested in humans with carcinomas as early as next year.

Find out more (University of Oxford website)