There is perhaps no health scourge on this planet more dastardly than cancer.
The “Big C” has become ubiquitous in modern society, touching the lives of nearly the entire global population in one way or another. Science has been doing constant work on the subject, but the troubling illness is far easier to diagnose than it is to prevent or treat, and the idea of a “cure” for cancer has largely been seen as a pipe-dream by the medical community.
But now, a strange new trial is showing promise, and medical professionals are genuinely excited about the possibilities.
A new cancer therapy that uses a modified herpes virus to attack tumor cells showed promise in early clinical trials abroad.
The drug, called RP2, completely obliterated one patient’s oral cancer. The 39-year-old told the BBC that he had cancer of the salivary glands, which continued to grow despite attempts at treatment.
He was preparing for the end of his life when he learned about the experimental drug, which was available through a phase one safety trial at the Institute of Cancer Research in the UK.
The results were extremely promising.
After a short course of the drug, the patient — Krzysztof Wojkowski of west London — has been cancer-free for two years and counting, he told the BBC.
Other patients in the trial saw their tumors shrink, although the majority did not have a significant change: three out of nine patients who were given the trial drug alone, and seven of 30 who received a combined treatment, appeared to benefit from the experimental therapy.
The treatment is aggressive, with this modified version of the herpes simplex virus being injected directly into tumors where it replicates and eventually overpowers the cancerous mass.
The treatment is so promising that some officials have suggested that it’s a “death warrant” for cancer cells.