Common virus used to help fight incurable brain cancer

Scientists may have found a new treatment to help people with incurable brain cancer. Ten patients so far in the UK have received the therapy, which is a virus that causes mild flu-like symptoms. The virus can cross the blood-brain barrier and appears to help "switch on" the body’s defence systems to attack the tumour.
Experts at University of Leeds and four other centres now plan to treat more patients with reovirus therapy.
Although not a cure, the scientists hope it could be a useful add-on to traditional treatments, like chemotherapy and radiotherapy and newer immunotherapy drugs to buy patients more weeks, months or perhaps even years of life.
It is too early to know what impact, if any, reovirus treatment has on survival, but researchers are hopeful that with more studies they will be able to find out.
Dr Colin Watts, Cancer Research UK’s brain tumour expert, told the BBC it was "an exciting first step along the journey towards clinical use".
He added: "Scientists working with surgeons and oncologists have proven that the virus penetrates into the tumour and does what it is supposed to do – wake up the immune system to see the cancer.
"Now clinical trials are seeing if that wake-up call is sufficient to kill the cancer cells and help to improve survival of patients with brain tumours."