Cancer research: how viruses can be powerful weapons to cure the disease

Cancer research: how viruses can be powerful weapons to cure the disease

  • André Biernath – @andre_biernath
  • BBC News Brazil

Illustration of a cancer cell

Photo credit, Getty Images

image caption,

Some viruses have a greater affinity for cancer cells and can help destroy them.

Viruses have always been seen as the big bad guys in health – an even stronger notion during a pandemic like the one we are experiencing, in which the cause of Covid has been linked to 20 million deaths so far.

But within oncology, the specialty of medicine that deals with cancer, some of these infectious agents are increasingly seen as allies: viruses can become a valuable tool for treating a whole range of tumors, point out the experts.

Currently, several research groups are evaluating the possibility of using so-called oncolytic viruses as a means of directly attacking cancer cells or encouraging a more robust immune system response against these diseased units.

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