WHITE blood cells acting as ‘Trojan Horses’ can deliver a tumour-busting virus to stop the spread of cancer after therapy, Sheffield University researchers have found.
World-leading experts have discovered cells called macrophages surge into tumours after frontline therapies like chemotherapy or radiotherapy - and are now exploiting this to deliver a second potent blow to stop the cancer growing back.
They are injecting cells carrying a tumour-destroying virus into the bloodstream at the exact moment when this surge occurs so they can ‘surf the wave’ and get swept up into the tumour in large numbers.
Each cell then releases large amounts of virus inside the tumour.
The virus then kills the cancer residue from within, preventing regrowth or its further spread to other parts of the body.
The pioneering project was led by Professor Claire Lewis and Dr Munitta Muthana.
“Our Trojan Horse can convert a patient’s own white blood cells into tiny tumour-killing machines which fight to prevent tumour regrowth after the end of chemo or radiotherapy treatment,” said Prof Lewis.
Research has been carried out on patients with prostate cancer, but the technique could be adapted to treat many other forms of tumours.
Clinical trials could begin as early as next year.