Researchers funded by The Brain Tumour Charity have shown that a naturally-occurring virus, delivered to patients by a simple injection, can cross the blood-brain barrier and kill cancer cells in the brain. They also found that the virus, called reovirus, does not harm healthy cells and causes only mild flu-like symptoms in patients.
Dr Adel Samson, co-lead author of the research paper, said: “This is the first time it has been shown that a therapeutic virus is able to pass through the brain-blood barrier, and that opens up the possibility this type of immunotherapy could be used to treat more people with aggressive brain cancers."
A clinical trial is now under way, in which patients will be given reovirus alongside standard radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments, to see if the virus makes the standard treatments more effective.
Listen to Professor Susan Short from the University of Leeds talking about this research and the clinical trials by clicking here.