Iranian Scientists Develop Smallpox Virus to Treat Brain Cancer

TEHRAN (ANA)- A group of researchers from a knowledge-based company in Iran found that the weakened smallpox virus can be used in the treatment of brain cancer.

“The virus that we produced is based on the vaccinia virus from the oncolytic group of viruses. The origin of the virus is from the weakened vaccinia smallpox virus, whose pathogenic factors have been destroyed and useful and therapeutic genes have been placed in it,” said Nassim Mirbahari, a PhD student at Royan Research Institute and the director of research and development department of an Iranian knowledge-based company.

She explained that oncolytic virus specifically reproduces in cancer cells and destroys them and does not harm healthy cells, adding, “It can be used as a new treatment for all types of cancers.”

“In this method, in addition to ability to destroy cancer cells in the brain as a single treatment, the virus can increase the effects of complementary treatments in combination with other treatment methods like chemotherapy,” Mirbahari said.

“This method can be used as an independent treatment method or it can be used as a complementary method along with other methods. In our company, we have performed the cell and animal phase, and in the next phase, we will start the human clinical phase,” she noted.

While pox viruses call to mind images of pus-filled blisters and painful sores, a few clever genetic tweaks turn these viruses from deadly villains into cancer-fighting heroes.

Best known as the live virus present in the smallpox vaccine, vaccinia virus is surprisingly good at killing cancer cells.

With a natural affinity for tumors, a fast replication time, and a good safety profile, pox viruses have the potential to treat deadly and treatment-resistant cancers, including pancreatic and brain cancers.


Source: ANA