Leslie Carol Botha: Well, this certainly raises the question if the viruses we are attempting to eradicate play a vital role in our health. Our bodies contain thousands of virus and bacteria…. it seems to me that we should be living in balance with them instead of killing them – further upsetting body homestasis
Measles virus could help target – and kill – cancer
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Faculty of Medicine
September 2, 2011
Dalhousie Medical School researchers have discovered that a tumour cell marker is a receptor for the measles virus, suggesting the possible use of measles virus to help fight cancer. Their findings appear in a recent issue of PLoS Pathogens.
Viruses cause infection by attaching to specific proteins on cell surfaces called receptors. Dr. Chris Richardson’s laboratory at the IWK Health Centre found that the tumour cell marker, PVRL4 (Nectin 4), is a receptor for measles virus.
“The cancer-killing properties of measles virus have previously been reported by researchers at the Mayo Clinic,” says Dr. Richardson, professor of microbiology & immunology and paediatrics, and Canada Research Chair in Viral Vaccinology and Therapeutics.
“But this is the first time that the virus has been shown to target a common receptor that is highly expressed on the surfaces of lung, breast, colon, and ovarian cancer cells.”
The PVRL4 receptor is found in airway cells, and the measles virus infects tissue in the respiratory tract and lungs. Large amounts of PVRL4 are also present in many cancers that originate from cells of the lung, breast, colon, and ovaries.
Human cells that contain PVRL4 become highly susceptible to measles virus infections. Because PVRL4 is found in many types of human cancers, the measles virus could potentially be used to specifically target and infect cancer cells and then turn people’s immune systems against tumours.