Swiss scientists hope the new technique will help the immune system attack cancer cells
Researchers at the University of Basel now hope the technique will soon be tested on human subjects after proving effective in mice.
The study involved the introduction of cancer proteins to the designer virus, triggering an immune response which then makes it easier for the body to detect other cells with the same proteins.
The technique potentially offers a new solution to a problem that has confounded oncologists for years – getting the immune system to detect elusive cancer cells before they spread.
Professor Daniel Pinschewer from the University of Basel said: “We hope that our new findings and technologies will soon be used in cancer treatments and so help to further increase their success rates."
The virus was created from the existing lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), according to Nature Communications.
The artificial infection itself is harmless, but nevertheless triggers the desired response from the immune system.
By then adding proteins exclusive to cancer cells, scientists found the combination created so-called "killer cells" which were able to detect the cancer through the protein and destroy it.