Cure for Cancer?

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Durandal7, Nov 4, 2003.

  1. Durandal7 macrumors 68040

    Feb 24, 2001
    Oncolytics Biotech has found that a naturally occuring reovirus has enormous potential for treating cancer. This reovirus has been found to attack cancer cells while ignoring healthy cells. It is a naturally occuring virus and is non-pathogenic. It has been found to attack about 2/3 of human cancers including breast, prostate and brain cancer. There are a number of independent studies documenting reovirus therapy .

    According to their site this is how the virus operates:
    Additionally, the research has shown enough promise to warrant a grant from the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
  2. jrv3034 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2002
    Awesome. I think practically everyone knows somebody (family member, friend, classmate, office buddy) that has been affected by this horrible disease. This is a plague that must be stopped, and news like this should give us renewed hope that we will find a cure. It's only a matter of time. Best of luck to all those involved in the research.
  3. Dros macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2003
    A couple years back there was a similar story. A group made a version of the common cold virus (adenovirus) that only attacked cells that had an altered "cell suicide" pathway. Most cancers turn off this pathway as a first step to uncontrolled growth. The virus wiped out tumors in mice. A company formed based on the results called Onyx Pharmaceuticals, and it is doing OK stock-wise but hasn't turned that finding into a cancer treatment yet. Maybe both together? I think any "cure" will be a cocktail, like how the HIV inhibitors are done.
  4. Durandal7 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Feb 24, 2001
    However, we are not talking about mice. We are looking at documented results on living cancer cells inside a human being.

    These are before and after shots of an inoperable neck tumor that was injected with the reovirus: Before and after. Additionally there are documented human clinical trials that indicate an effect on malignant tumors.
  5. Dros macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2003
    The first results from Onyx were in mice (in 1996). They have since then released info on promising sounding clinical trials with significant effects on tumor size in humans as well. Maybe this virus is better, but to me they sound similar, and the Onyx one, while promising, doesn't sound like a magic bullet. Of course the new one sounds great -- it is the company web site!
  6. Juventuz macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2002
    I hope to God they can come up with something.

    My father currently has Kidney Cancer, for a second time, and is taking interpheron alpha. So far no positive results. My grandmother has breast cancer, but it's too late for her, it's spread too much.

    I just hope this leads to some serious treatments.
  7. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    retrovirus therapy has a wide variety of potential applications, but since we're kind of "making a deal with the devil" when we engineer one (which obviously did not happen in this case), we can't always predict it. so i don't know that much money will be invested in it's research... what if the retrovirus mutated because of some chemo drug and then went contageous? you get my point.

    but clearly this is an area that needs more attention. AIDS and cancer are the two biggest things we should be funding, they're so devistating worldwide... animals have a tremendously difficult time with cancer as well, some animals are very much prone to it... we keep african pygmie hedgehogs, which some studies show have as much as 40% cancer rate. humans are not the only ones waiting for a cure.

    and before anyone starts with me being insensitive for wanting a cure for my pets' cancer, my great-grandmother and mother-in-law are both breast cancer survivors, and i have lost many friends and acquaintances to cancer :(

  8. Dros macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2003
    Retroviruses are already mutating at a crazy rate. That's why they are tricky to make vaccines against... the target is always shifting.

    Although, it is hard to predict what the possible bad outcomes may be, as you say.
  9. matthew_goldin macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2003
    I do not know anyone who has cancer. Yet I hope that a cure will be found. For all I know, someone I know might get cancer. But with all thse false alarms in the past I find it unlikely that we will find a cure very soon.
  10. strider42 macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2002
    In this case, they aren't using a retrovirus, its a reovirus. I'm no doctor, but there appears to be a big difference: Not saying the point isn't still valid, but we should be talking about the correct terms. This reovirus stuff seems to me to be much less of a problem than using a regular virus since it appears to be much more benign and there appears to be litte if any engineering here. They simply found a naturally occuring virus that doesn't cause disease that we all have been exposed to and found it can kill cancer cells.
  11. Espnetboy3 macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2003
    i just wanna say i find that hard to believe that u dont know anyone who had or has or passed away because of cancer. but i guess thats great news that u never had to put up wit it
  12. Dros macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2003
    I don't think there is a big difference. Retroviruses have a genome out of RNA. To replicate it they use RNA reverse transcriptase, which tends to make errors. Reoviruses also have an RNA genome as well, so they also mutate rapidly.

    You are right that it seems benign. But there are many benign viruses out there, and making a pathogenic one benign is pretty easy (vaccines used to be benign versions of disease-causing ones, and this can be done without any genetic engineering). So the whole "natural" aspect of it seems to me to be more useful for their advertising department than for any scientific bonus.
  13. strider42 macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2002
    Like I said, I'm no doctor. I just wanted to point out that they weren't using a virus that currently causes any disease, such as what I've heard in other similar types of research. I think its a big thing when its a naturally occuring benign virus, as opposed to a genetically or otherwise modified disease causing virus that it seems would be much more likely to turn into a problem through either unforseen effects or mutations. There may also be some really key differences between them (assuming there are since they have different designations). But I don't know. Just adding some clarification.
  14. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    This sounds like great news. It will be important to see the results of larger clinical trials. They will also need to see what the long term results will show.
  15. Dros macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2003
    Yeah. It seems like there are a hundred examples of treatments that looked great in early clinical trials and then showed little in a larger trial.

    Probably, 10,000 therapies go through Phase III trials. Most of them show nothing. In a hundred, 2 or 3 out of the 5 tested get somewhat better. This of course, excites everyone, even though if 5% of the patients recover by chance, then in quite a few groups of 5 you'll see 3 people cured. But the group or company touts it as the next "silver bullet" anyway. And they have pictures of the miraculous cures that they saw.

    But then, because it was all due to chance in the early trials, it fails in the larger.

    Maybe this one will be different. Though these promising treatments have been popping up since interferon in the 70s.
  16. MrMacMan macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2001
    1 Block away from NYC.
    Yeah I hope to see some good news on this.

    I am really hoping this leads somewhere good.

    I know people who have cancer, it is not a curable form...


Share This Page