RE-ENGINEERED POLIO VIRUS TREATS CANCER
Using polio, an infectious viral illness that can result in paralysis, difficulty breathing, and even death in its most severe form, to treat glioblastoma, a brain tumor that carries a life expectancy of less than a year, may seem a little unorthodox, but hear me out. Dr. Matthias Gromeier and his colleagues at Duke University have successfully re-engineered the polio virus to treat brain tumors by removing a key genetic sequence. This genetically engineered polio virus, PVS-RIPO, is not unlike other experimental treatments in the past using HIV, measles, and smallpox. Unlike these other diseases, researchers from Duke found that polio actually seeks out and attaches itself to receptors that can be found on almost every solid tumor. Not only was this re-engineered polio virus successful in seeking out and poisoning cancerous cells, but it also steered clear of normal cells.With respect to transparency, PVS-RIPO, has been in the works for the past 25 years. However, groundbreaking steps in this potential cancer treatment were made in 2015, and that includes eradication of tumors in certain patients. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to make its decision on “breakthrough status” within the next year.