Cold Virus Joins Cancer Fight
Brain tumors may yield to targeted infection
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2008 2:14 PM CDT
Despite the real-life research's similarities to the altered measles virus in Will Smith's "I Am Legend," no one seems to be too worried about zombies roaming Manhattan in the near future.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Scientists are trying to beat some of the most untreatable forms of cancer by employing another undefeated ailment: the common cold. A research team in Seattle has "modified the viruses so they can selectively target the tumor cells, replicate inside them and kill them," says one of the scientists, but so far just in mice. Deploying viruses against cancer isn't a new technique, reports the Post-Intelligencer.

A century ago, doctors noticed a woman's tumor shrinking after she was vaccinated for rabies. In the 1950s scientists began injecting cancer patients with viruses, hoping for similar outcomes. The new approach is about to start human trials, but some issues aren't resolved. Most critical: how to keep the body from fighting off the helpful virus. Says another researcher: "The trick is to make them kill only the cells you want them to kill."