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Viruses Show New Promise as Cancer Treatment

New treatments, based on the use of different viruses, injected to tumors, utilized two paths of treatment – on one hand, the virus infects and kills many of the cancer cell, and in parallel, it stimulates the immune system to fight the tumor. Preliminary clinical studies using similar techniques done by Duke University on glioblastoma, Mayo Clinic on multiple myeloma, Dalhousie University on melanoma, all show promising results.

Last week, the FDA approved the first virus-based cancer treatment, Imlygic, which is used to treat advanced-stage melanoma. The treatment is a modified version of the herpes virus that attacks the cancer and launches an immune system response against tumors. In a clinical trial of 436 patients treated with Imlygic, 16 percent saw tumors shrink for at least six months.

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