Copyright 1997 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.

In October 18, Science magazine ran a story about how the common cold could be used to fight cancer.

Frank McCormick and his colleagues at ONYX Pharmaceuticals in Richmond, CA described how a mutant virus could be used to treat experimental tumors.

They implanted human cervical cancer cells into mice and then let tumors grow. They then showed that the virus reduced the size of those tumors and sometimes eliminated them. The mutant was a form of an adenovirus, one of the many viruses that can cause colds in people. This particular virus had a mutation that only allowed it to grow in cells lacking a protein called p53.

While almost all normal cells synthesize p53, many tumor cells can't. It is believed that p53 guards against uncontrolled cell growth. Doctors have begun trying to use the mutant virus in clinical trials. However, it should be noted that one scientist who first described the virus in 1987 is skeptical.

"The virus has to grow inside the patient," he remarked, "but there will be a very effective immune response against it because most everyone was infected with this kind of virus in childhood," according to Arnie Berk of the University of California, at Los Angeles (quoted in Science News 11/30/96).

Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. is director of the The Moss Reports for cancer patients. Dr. Moss is the author of eleven books and three documentaries on cancer-related topics. He is or has been an advisor on alternative cancer treatments to the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the American Urological Association, Columbia University, the University of Texas, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the German Society of Oncology. He wrote the first article on alternative medicine for the Encyclopedia Britannica yearbook. He is listed in Marquis Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in the East, and Who's Who in Entertainment (as a film documentarian). This Web site does not advocate any particular treatment for cancer. We urge you to always seek competent medical advice for all health problems, especially cancer. Before consulting our site please read our full Disclaimer statement.

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