Rabbit virus may harbour colorectal cancer cure

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Wellington, May 5 (ANI): A new "highly promising" vaccine therapy, which owes its origin to rabbit calicivirus disease (RCD), could offer hope for colorectal cancer sufferers, according to University of Otago researchers.

The therapy uses harmless viral shells derived from RCD, also known as rabbit haemorrhagic disease, to deliver immunising tumour proteins.

And according to researchers, the same approach could also be applied to a wide range of human cancers.

Sarah Young, an immunologist in the university's department of microbiology and immunology, told the Otago Daily Times that the cancer-related research, involving virus-like particles (VLP), was very promising.

"This therapy is like gold in our hands. It's worked as well if not better than any other therapy I've ever seen," Stuff.co.nz quoted her as saying.

Mice with induced tumours usually lived no longer than 40 days, but after a single dose of the VLP vaccine, 60 percent of them lived for 80 days or more, found the researchers.

About 80 percent of mice receiving a preventive dose lived for 80 days or more after a tumour was induced.

Ethical approval has been granted to conduct laboratory tests this year involving cells removed from the body, to see if the VLP system can induce an enhanced immune response in human cells and human clinical trials could be held late next year.

The new vaccine approach offered potentially significant advantages over some forms of traditional cancer therapy, such as chemotherapy.

Inducing the immune system to attack only tumour cells was a much more selective approach. (ANI)

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