The War on Cancer and Its Oncolytic Viral Cells Essay

The War on Cancer and Its Oncolytic Viral Cells Essay

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Besides being able to seize an entire continent in the panicked grips of an epidemic, viruses also have the potential to do good. Such is the purpose of virotherapy – using viruses to selectively target and kill cancer cells, effectively stopping tumour growth in one fell swoop. In the war on cancer, the 200 types of cancer collectively claim almost half a million deaths yearly. The traditional tag team of radiation therapy and chemotherapy undoubtedly have their limits, and now more than ever are new developments needed. Consequently, novel treatments have been devised and noteworthy is the field of virotherapy which may have the potential to sway the tides of war.

Rewinding to the root of the problem is unchecked cell reproduction for that is from where cancer arises. A cell manages to avoid the regular checks intended to monitor the cell’s normal development, resulting in it dividing continuously through mitosis until the abnormal cells aggregate to form a mass/primary tumour at the site of the initial cancer progression. At this point, these cells are not invasive nor metastatic, yet they may accumulate genetic alterations as they reproduce, giving them such capabilities. Metastasis may then occur as the cancer spreads to other organs by invading the circulatory or lymphatic system.

Once afflicted with the disease, there are many forms of cancer management. The specific type of treatment prescribed depends on each individual case, taking into account the disease’s stage, the tumour’s location and size, and the patient’s health. The fundamental aim of the cancer treatment is to rid the body entirely of the cancerous cells while doing as little harm as possible to the normal cells. To increase the efficacy of this, severa...


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...iver. Thus it can cause diseases such as pericarditis, myocarditis, or hepatitis. This single-stranded RNA virus also possesses cytolytic capabilities. Specifically coxsackievirus B3 was shown to demonstrate tumour selectivity for non-small cell lung cancer. Thus, it is a viable candidate in treating lung adenocarcinomas, both localized and metastasized.

The advent of new, more effective weapons are indispensable in defeating this long-time foe. Agents with increasing prominence and paramount capabilities to incur this change are oncolytic viruses. They, either naturally or through genetic engineering, have the capability to specifically target and kill tumour cells and only tumour cells, even if the cancer has proceeded to the metastatic stages. Advancements in this progressive field may very well be instrumental in bringing about the turning point of this war.

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