Some viruses have the potential to kill cancer cells and many scientists are aware of this for over the century. But only in the past few decades, due to the advancement in genetic engineering, we have been able to turn the viruses into viable cancer therapy. Now researchers from all around the corner are in the hopes that this virotherapy will become a very effective viral source to treat cancer.
Some viruses attack only the cancerous tissues and not the healthy ones, and oncolytic virotherapy is based on this process only. Anticancer viruses not just kill the cancer cells but also alert the host immune system about the presence of cancer’s tumour.
In the era of 1900s, many scientists worked on this form of immunotherapy but after some time the rise of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and other forms of immunosuppressive treatment suppressed the emerging virotherapy at that time. The 80s came as a new age for oncolytic virotherapy and since then this field has been booming up.
Oncolytic virotherapy exploits the dangerous features of cancerous cells that comes at the expense of beneficial features found in healthy cells. With the aid of advanced genetic engineering, researchers now aim to build the best oncolytic virus they can and then level the virus with its cancerous archnemesis.
The field of virotherapy has significantly advanced in a couple of decades but somehow the research remains quite difficult. As the challenge of picking the right virus and deciding how to arm and deliver it to the infected cell is not budging to improve. Since virotherapy can be injected directly into the tumour bed, but many cancers are difficult to reach with needles as they might be scattered throughout the body. Apart from this oncolytic virus can also bear many other hurdles too.
The future of virotherapy hold both miracles and obstacles, as many diligent scientists are unearthing a perfect and powerful virus to increase the efficiency of future cancer treatment.