Researchers have now found a way to genetically engineer the common cold virus so that it kills cancerous cells, while leaving healthy ones intact. They did this by modifying one gene, so the virus could grow in cancerous cells. However, they had to boost the activity of another gene to ensure that the virus would not grow in non-cancerous cells. Specialists say, "When the virus infects cells, it takes the altered genes with it, and those genes attack cancer cells while leaving normal cells intact."
Researchers say, in preclinical tests, the virus effectively attacked cancerous tumors and did not harm normal tissue. However researchers have been studying the common cold virus for the last 30 years and research is still on to test the virus in clinical trials.The potential is huge as some of the vectors are designed to destroy many different types of cancers and others are designed to be specific to colon or lung cancer.
The adenovirus is the virus responsible for the common cold. The latest technology is now patented, and researchers are collaborating to develop new therapies for cancer and other diseases that will be tested in a clinical setting.