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Research stalled, however, when scientists realized that oncolytic viruses were slow to attack tumors and more importantly, had to be injected at the site of the tumor in order to be effective. But despite the setbacks, research in oncolytic viruses has recently spiked, focusing on using a “friendlier” virus to fight cancer [4,5,6].

A study completed by the William Harvey Research Institute shows that the use of un-tested, replicating viruses could jeopardize the human body [17]. Since creating the oncolytic virus requires altering the genes of the virus, it could potentially mutate and introduce a new strain of disease. Additionally, based on earlier research, oncolytic viruses are known to attack tumors slowly. Doctors estimate that in 2011, 1.6 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer, with around 600,000 who died [1]. Needless to say, any new cancer treatment will save millions of lives.

The persistent endeavor to cure the world’s seventh most common cause of death [2] has led to many novel breakthroughs and revolutionary innovations.

While chemotherapy and radiation have conventionally been used for treating cancer, today’s emerging front-runner in the race to cure cancer is, in fact, a virus.

This novel treatment identifies the specific traits of cancer cells and destroys the cancer cells without harming the benign cells [3].

Though in the past, this treatment has been regarded as ineffective, recent scientific progress has reincarnated the oncolytic virus to defeat cancer.

In the 1800s, scientists first noticed that the introduction of a virus could diminish a tumor. Available from: University of chicago, Section of hematology/oncology Web site: 8.

Recognizing this startling connection, scientists began researching the phenomenon in the early 20 century [4]. US National library of medicine national institutes of health.