Non Disease Virus Kills Breast Cancer Cells In Lab

A virus that infects humans without causing disease kills breast cancer cells in the laboratory. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) College of Medicine in the US, tested an unaltered form of adeno-associated virus type 2 (AAV2) on three different human breast cancer types representing different stages of cancer and found it targeted all of them. They hope by uncovering the pathways the virus uses to trigger cancer cell death, their work will lead to new targets for anti-cancer drugs. A paper on this work appeared recently in the journal Molecular Cancer.
In earlier studies, the team also showed that AAV2 promotes cell death in cervical cancer cells infected with human papillomavirus (HPV).
Cells have different ways of dying. When a healthy cell gets damaged, or starts behaving in an abnormal way, this normally triggers production of proteins that cause apoptosis or cell suicide: part of this process also involves switching off proteins that trigger cell division. The problem with cancer cells is that apoptosis fails, and the proteins that regulate cell division and proliferation stay switched on, so abnormal cells continue to multiply and create new abnormal cells and that is how tumors develop.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the world and the main cause of cancer-related death in women.