By Andrea D. Steffen
Two hundred years ago, the cowpox virus was used to end smallpox. Now, scientists have discovered a way to use it to kill every known type of cancer in a laboratory setting. A new virus (based on cowpox) has been engineered by US cancer expert Professor Yuman Fong and is being developed by an Australian biotech company called Imugene. They announced it’s ready for human trials, which are set to begin next year.
The treatment is called CF33. It successfully shrunk tumours in mice and killed every kind of cancer in a petri dish. Next, they hope to test it on human patients with breast cancer and other cancers. Prof. Fong and Imugene representatives are currently planning the clinical trials.
The clinical trial will take place in Australia and other countries. They are calling it a “basket study.” All patients enrolled will be people with triple-negative breast cancer, lung cancer, melanoma, gastric, bladder, and bowel cancer. By testing it on a variety of cancer types, they will be able to see where the treatment is most effective.