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Cold virus in cancer fight; SCIENCE.

SCIENTISTS are tackling prostate cancer by using the common cold virus to deliver "suicide genes" to tumour cells, it has emerged.

The injected adenovirus carries pairs of fused genes directly into the cancer cells. The genes produce two proteins which persuade the cancer cells to kill themselves.

This treatment is followed by a week's course of two anti-cancer drugs. Professor Jae Ho Kim and colleagues at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, US, tested the therapy on 12 patients with recurring disease.

The researchers believe the technique may point the way to safer and more effective treatment for prostate cancer. Prof Kim told the European cancer conference in Lisbon, Portugal, "All patients tolerated the gene therapy well with minimal toxicities".

The team is now planning a further study incorporating radiotherapy with the "suicide genes".

The two suicide genes were the gene for thymidine kinase which is derived from the cold sore virus, Herpes Simplex, and the gene for cytosine deaminase, derived from the Escherichia coli bacterium.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 24, 2001
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