Braining the rats

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

EDWARD A Neuwclt and his colleagues at the Oregon 1-iealth Sciences University in Portland have recorded success in transporting potentially therapeutic viruses into the grey matter of rats - a finding that has far reaching implications for the treatment of brain tumours.

The shortcomings of surgery and chemotherapy especially highlight the significance of their achievement. Surgery and radiation often prove detrimental because they damage a number of normal cells enroute to the tumour. Chemotherapy drugs often prove useless because they ca pass through the protective brain barrier" that surrounds the and keeps out all but the smaller molecules.

Ncuwelt and his team have foud a way to get around such problems. In an aggressive therapy aimed specifical brain tumour cells, special strair virus are injected directly into the bi These viruses naturally infect rapidly dividing cells, such as ca cells, and plant tinypiecesof viral them. Subsequently, the cells bec, susceptible to anti-viral drugs.

Research in the initial stages has been carried out on rats. The challange will now be to see if anti-viral drugs can destroy the marked tumour cells.

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