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Great national media coverage today...

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    Human trials to begin nextyear using a virus to kill cancer

    AnAustralian company has engineered a new virus based on cowpox that is able tokill every known type of cancer. Now they are ready for human trials.

    Sue Dunlevy,National Health Reporter, News Corp Australia Network

    November 8,2019 6:00am

    EXCLUSIVE: It ended the scourge of smallpox 200 yearsago now the cowpox virus is being used to kill cancer.

    Scientists have engineered a new virus based on cowpoxthat is able to kill every known type of cancer cell in a petrie dish.

    The treatment called CF33 has been found to shrinktumours in mice and it is hoped it will be trialled on Australian breast andother cancer patients early next year.

    Engineered by US cancer expert Professor Yuman Fong,the treatment is being developed by Australia biotech company Imugene, whichhas licensed the innovation.

    Professor Fong is in Australia this week to meetImugene representatives and plan the clinical trials.

    The so-called “basket study” to be run in Australiaand other countries will enrol patients with triple negative breast cancer,melanoma, lung cancer, bladder, gastric and bowel cancer.

    Researchers believe this will show where the treatmentis most effective faster than just testing in one cancer.

    Just because the treatment works in mice does not meanit will be successful in humans and early phase human trials are known as thevalley of death for many medical breakthroughs.

    However, Professor Fong is hopeful because a series ofother more specific cancer killing viruses are already proving effective infighting cancer in humans.

    US scientists have turned the virus that causes thecommon cold into a treatment to kill brain cancer — in some patients the cancerdisappeared for years before returning, in others it shrank the tumoursconsiderably.

    A modified form of the herpes or cold sore viruscalled Imlygic or T-Vec is being used to treat melanoma. It helps the body’simmune system recognise and destroy tumours and then finds other melanoma cellsthroughout the body and kills them.

    Australian Researcher Associate professor Tom Johnfrom the Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Institute recently tested anothervirus treatment in combination with immunotherapy Keytruda on 11 lung cancerpatients and 3 patients saw their tumours shrink.

    “The whole field is an amazing place to be,” he said.

    A new type of virus has been createdthat can kill every type of cancer in a petrie dish.

    “There was evidence that viruses could kill cancer from the early 1900s when people vaccinated against rabies had their cancer disappear, they went into remission,” Professor Fong said.

    Previous research using viruses to kill cancers failedbecause the viruses used were too toxic, other treatments are only able to dealwith cancers in specific cells like skin or liver tissue.

    “The problem was if you made the virus toxic enough tokill cancer you were worried it would also kill man,” he said.

    Professor Fong’s said cowpox was known to be harmlessin humans and he mixed it with various other viruses that testing showed couldkill cancer.

    The breakthrough treatment will see cancer patientshave the engineered virus injected directly into their tumours where it isexpected to infect the cancer cells and explode them.

    The virus is then expected to alert the immune systemthat there are cancer cells in the body and prompt it to seek out and killother diseased cells.

    Jess Braude fought off triple negativebreast cancer last year. Picture: Julian Andrews

    Sydney social worker Jess Braude was diagnosed withtriple negative breast cancer in July 2017 and she says the potential newtreatment will give new hope for those with the cancer.

    This cancer strikes younger women and survival ratesare low.

    Three of the women Jess Braude wentthrough treatment with died of the disease.

    "It fills me with hope that theremight be something there that can stop this disease”. Picture: Supplied

    “Three of the people I was going through treatmentwith have passed away because there is no targeted treatment,” Ms Braude said.

    Ms Braude was lucky because she knew she carried thecancer causing BRACA2 gene and was having regular check-ups which found herdisease early and she’s now in remission.

    “It’s critical to find new treatments, there are toomany young women passing away from this disease,” she said.

    The idea of using a virus to kill cancer was“amazing”, she said.

    Natalie Flynn is being treated forbreast cancer and she says anything would be better than the hell of chemo.Picture: Steve Pohlner

    Brisbane woman Natalie Flynn received the “absolutelydevastating” news she had stage three, grade three breast cancer just twomonths ago.

    Since having a double mastectomy, lymph node removaland going through the “brutal” regime of chemotherapy, Ms Flynn said “anythingwould be better than this hell”.

    She said she would “absolutely” volunteer for thecowpox virus trial, in the hopes that it may be a cure.

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