Fighting Cancer with the Common Cold

Seems counterintuitive, but the common cold virus could become an option for skin cancer treatment.

In a recent clinical trial, Australian researchers treated Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) patients with a modified cold virus. Patients were injected with massive amounts of the virus, often directly into tumors.

Virus-based cancer treatments, also known as “virotherapy”, is not new. In a study published in 2015, researchers saw great results in treating brain tumors with a genetically modified version of the adenovirus that causes the common cold. With treatment, one patient’s brain tumor shrank to the point that it vanished.

The BCC study saw similar positive results with an 84% “cure rate” on targeted tumors. One participant’s tumor decreased in size by half with 6 weeks of injections.

So far, side effects seem to be very minimal. Some in the study experienced mild flu-like symptoms after initial treatments.

This is an early study. A second round of trials will begin soon. If all goes well a treatment could be available to the public in 4-5 years.