Cancer diseases are rapidly increasing in prevalence in developing countries; this has raised concerns in need to urgently formulate a mechanism that can cure it. Malaria, AIDS and now Cancer are the top three killers in Sub Saharan Africa. The first two can quickly be diagnosed even in developing countries, but cancer seems to be a major challenge in these countries due to lack equipment and enough oncologists. The ongoing research in the developed world may shade light on proper treatment even in cases where it has fully developed. The Trojan horse virus research which is the last to be documented in the year 2012 may lay a foundation towards discovery of a cure.

The Trojan horse

This is the newest development in the continuous research on ways of eliminating cancer, thanks to Cancer Research UK that carried out the experiment. The study which is documented in the journal Cancer Research indicated the use of a virus to kill the tumour cells.

Trojan horse is an experimental virus that was introduced in mice using white blood cells. Once inside the mice, thousands of them are released to kill the tumour cells. According to lead scientist Prof. Claire Lewis from University of Sheffield, ‘the problem is penetration’. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy in the treatment of cancer destroys the tissues resulting in increase in the number of White Blood Cells (WBCs) around it. The Prof. indicated that they are surfing the wave to get many WBCs deliver the virus to the core of the tumour. Indeed the use of viruses to destroy cancerous cells has been growing although it has been faced with the challenge of getting the virus inside the tumour cell.

The Professor’s team in the study extracted macrophages (part of the immune system that fights invaders) from blood samples and mixed it with the virus. The virus was carried by the WBCs which were eventually injected in the mice. The WBCs contained a few viruses; the macrophages once in the tumour lead to replication of the virus. The White Blood Cells then burst and release up to 10,000 viruses after about 12 hours, the released viruses infect and destroy the cancerous cells.

After a 40 day study period, mice injected with Trojan were still alive without sign of cancer, while the control experiment of mice given other treatments died and their cancer had spread. Prof Lewis noted that the Trojan horse completely eradicates the cancer and stops it from growing back, and that it is a ground breaking concept but cautioned that many notable advances in treating mice had no effect on people.

Cancer Research UK’s Dr. Emma Smith added that “Harnessing the body’s own immune system to deliver a deadly virus to tumours is an exciting approach that many scientists are pursuing.’’ She indicated that the study has potential to make chemotherapy and radiotherapy effective arsenals against cancer.

The research is still at an early stage and more studies need to be done to show safety and effectiveness in people. Dr. Kate Holmes from Prostate Cancer UK appreciated that this method of directly delivering cancer destroying virus to cancer site is successful at slowing the development of advanced prostate tumours treated with radio- and chemo-therapies.

According to Dr Kate if the treatment is successful in human trials, it could indicate substantial advancement in getting better treatments for prostate cancer that has spread to the bone in men. With this understanding, definitely this research finding is a good mileage towards cure for cancer. 2013 in my opinion is the year for great things