Informative Articles and Independent, Unbiased Product Reports On Various Herpes Remedies

Treating Cancer With Herpes

Strange as it may sound, physicians have employed a herpes virus that first underwent genetic engineering to administer successful treatment to patients suffering from head and neck cancer.

Inside Out

During a small London study performed in a hospital, researchers found that when they used the virus along with radiation and chemotherapy, the tumors of most of the 17 patients tested were eradicated. The herpes virus does its thing by entering the cancer cells after which it kills them from the inside out. The virus appeared to boost the immune systems of the cancer patients, as well. More trials are scheduled toward the end of 2010.

Head and neck cancer is a broad category including cancers that affect the throat, tongue, and mouth. These cancers affect as many as 8,000 UK residents each year.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Kevin Harrington of London's Institute of Cancer Research said that while the current cancer treatments work well when these cancers are detected at their earliest stages, most patients are not diagnosed until their cancer is much more advanced.

The herpes virus is also being tested on skin cancer patients. The virus has its genetic structure manipulated so that it grows within the confines of the tumor cells without invading healthy, normal cells where it would cause infection. Once the virus enters the cancer cells it acts in three ways: it multiplies, killing tumor cells along the way; it produces a protein that triggers the immune system to kick in; and it creates a viral protein to flag immune cells.

Of the 17 study participants who received the virus as an injection along with their usual treatments at Royal Marsden Hospital, 93% were deemed cancer-free after having their tumors surgically excised. Two years later, 82% of the patients were still free of disease.

Very Safe

Just two of the 13 patients who received the injection in high doses experienced relapse, according to a report on the study published in Clinical Cancer Research. Researchers state that the use of the virus is very safe. They hope that one day the virus will be used to eradicate other cancer types.  

Dr. Harrington commented that between 35%-55% of head and neck cancer patients will relapse within a span of two years after receiving the conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments. When the herpes virus is added to these therapeutic measures the odds undergo a dramatic improvement.