Scientists have suggested using the flu vaccine as an additional anti-tumor therapy. They tested their method on mice and found that the vaccine stops tumorgrowth. This works even in those mice that have been “infected” with human tumors, meaning it can theoretically work on us. The work was published in PNAS.
One of the main obstacles to overcoming cancer is the inaction of the patient’s own immune system. In some cases, immune cells manage to enter the tumor and begin the inflammatory process (these tumors are called “hot”), increase the chances of survival and cure the patient. It is much harder to deal with “cold” tumors that prevent the immune system.
Treatments can try to address this problem with the help of another stimulus external to the immune system. Tumor cells can suppress the activity of immune cells and if any obviously foreign pathogens are introduced into the body, it will increase the total number of pro-inflammatory proteins and active immune cells in the body. At the same time, the chances of penetrating the tumor will increase.
Now, Jenna Newman of the Rugers Cancer Research Institute and her colleagues suggested using the flu virus as an irritant. They introduced melanoma cells into the lungs of model mice, and when they took root, they infected them with the flu. Under the influence of infection, the number of tumor hotspots halved. And if at the same time the mice were treated for cancer with the help of checkpoint inhibitors. Eventually, the spotlights became twice as small.
Researchers verified their assumptions in a medical database, selecting from there the medical history of more than 30,000 lung cancer patients. It turned out that those who survived at least once during their illness in a hospital with flu survived several percent better than those who did not get the flu.
The researchers then tried to repeat the same experiment, but with a different tissue: the skin. However, the flu virus alone did not affect the survival of mice or the number of tumors. Scientists instead of the virus then tried to use a viral vaccine, and in this case, the mice survived better than the control group, and the size of the tumor was three times smaller.
Scientists have tested whether the vaccine can spread within the tissue. To do this, they “infected” with melanoma only one of the two lung mice, and then introduced an inactivated virus as a vaccine.
Tumor growth was inhibited in both lungs; From this, doctors concluded that the immune response increases in the tissue as a whole, and not only in the injection site of the vaccine. Eventually, the researchers reproduced their experiment in mice that developed a human tumor. They also introduced the vaccine into the tumor or adjacent tissue to help stop its growth.
Based on their data, the authors of the paper concluded that their method can also be used in humans. They emphasize that, unlike many other means of fighting the tumor, the flu vaccine is the least dangerous for the body and causes a minimum of side effects, as it is recommended even for children. At the same time, vaccination could improve the effects of other, more dangerous and unstable cancer therapies, such as checkpoint inhibitors.
Scientists have recently calculated that influenza and cold viruses don’t get along well in the human body, so one epidemic displaces another. In addition, it turned out that the influenza virus is gradually evolving under the influence of new antiviral drugs.
British researchers have found that a strain of the common cold virus attacks, infects and destroys cancer cells in bladder cancer patients, according to a study they publish in the medical journal Clinical Cancer Research. No trace of cancer was found in a patient after treatment with the virus.
Researchers from the University of Surrey and the Royal Surrey County Hospital in the UNITED Kingdom investigated the safety and tolerability of exposure to oncolytic coxsackievirus (CVA21), a natural strain of the common cold, in fifteen cancer patients invasive non-muscle bladder, which is found in the tissue of the inner surface of the bladder.
Cells affected by the virus died
The virus was found to have infected cancer cells and replicated itself causing the cells to rupture and die. Urine samples taken from patients on alternate days detected “detachment” from the virus, indicating that once the cancer cells infected with the virus died, the newly replicated virus continued to attack more cancer cells in the organ.
Normally, tumors in the bladder do not have immune cells, which prevents the patient’s own immune system from removing the cancer as it grows. Evidence suggests that treatment with CVA21 inflames the tumor and causes immune cells to rush into the cancer environment, attacking and killing cancer cells.
These tumors without immune cells are known as immunologically “cold” areas; however, treatment with the virus causes inflammation and stimulation of immune cells to create an immune “heat”. This makes it more likely that ‘hot’ tumors are rejected by the immune system.