Herpes virus as a weapon against melanoma

Herpes simplex virus, which causes "cold" on the lips, can be life-saving weapon in the fight against malignant skin tumor.

researchers from the Medical School at the University of Glasgow (Scotland) found that injection of a mutant strain of herpes simplex virus in patients with melanoma (the most dangerous of skin tumors) leads to the almost complete destruction of the tumor cells.Injections were safe for the body and does not cause activation of "dormant" herpes infection in patients who have previously been infected with the virus.In experiments

virus researchers injected directly into the area of ​​melanoma, that is the skin.Now they are interested in the question, and whether it is possible to deliver the herpes virus in other organs such as the liver and lungs.It is in these places often metastasizing tumor of the skin.

How does herpes virus

According to lead researcher, Professor Rona McKee, a new method of successfully treating uses key features of both the melanoma cells, and herpes

simplex virus.Melanocytes (skin cells that make and develop a malignant tumor) are distant relatives of the nerve cells.This is due to the fact that during embryonic development, and components of skin cells of the nervous system develops from a single germ cell.A herpes simplex virus, it turns out, loves to settle in the nerve ganglia (clusters of nerve cells), gradually destroying them.This is what makes the herpes virus is a potential weapon in the fight against melanoma.

Herpes simplex virus is now widespread.Its symptoms are unpleasant, but in most cases not dangerous to humans.Serious problems the virus causes only in people with impaired or reduced immunity.

In this study, the researchers used a special strain of the virus.This "mutant" code named HSV1716 devoid of a gene that normally determines the ability of the virus to spread throughout the body.And so after the injection of the virus in the tumor stays in place and does not damage healthy nerve cells.However, with regard to melanoma its destructive power remains the same: the virus replicates in tumor cells, causing their gradual destruction.

course, the experiments - this is only the beginning of a long journey.The study involved five patients only, and they are all to date, unfortunately died from melanoma.However, according to Professor McKee, a new treatment in the future for a big success, and thousands of lives saved.

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