Thursday, March 23, 2017
Can Viruses Kill Cancer?
A recent study at the IDIBAPS Biomedical Research Institute and Institute for Research in Biomedicine has come up with a new way to treat cancer. By genetically modifying viruses, they are able to get them to differentiate between healthy and cancerous cells and have them attack only cancer cells without causing any harm to the healthy tissue. This study utilizes the expression of the four different CPEB proteins, which are RNA binding proteins. The four CPEBs are normally balanced, however when an imbalance occurs it can trigger the development of cancer. For example, CPEB4 is produce profusely in cancerous cells and CPEB1 is completely absent in cancerous cells. Viruses are genetically modified to recognize cells with high levels of CPEB4 and low levels of CPEB1 and attack those cells specifically. Researchers are currently perfecting the technique and hope to bring it to clinical trials soon.