Friday, October 12, 2012

Veterinary Highlights: Pox On Dog Cancer

Researchers at University of Illinois report that myxoma, a pox virus otherwise harmless to dogs, infects certain types of cancer cells, while leaving healthy cells alone.

Myxoma virus. Image: Citizendium

This is not the first time I read about the idea of using viruses to treat resistant bacterial infections or cancer.

Naturally, viruses are associated with bad things. The truth is, though, that out of the huge variety of viruses out there, only a handful are harmful.

Unlike other treatments, such as radiation or chemo, viruses can be discriminate about what types of cells they attack.

It might sound quite wacky, but it is an interesting idea.

Viruses might emerge as relatively benign cancer treatments to complement or even replace standard cancer therapies.

Many cancers have impaired anti-viral defenses, which allow viruses to target tumors while sparing healthy cells.

Source article:
Scientists Aim to Put a Pox On Dog Cancer

Further reading:
Pox Virus Used to Kill Canine Cancer Cells


  1. Hmmmm. Interesting article and not something I'm that familiar with. Canine cancer is on the rise, like cancers in humans, so I'm really glad to hear research is turning up some promising treatments.

    1. There is a LOT of cancer research out there, much of it is variations on the same thing, but some are quite unique and interesting, such as this one.

      I did read about experiments they were doing in Russia, treating resistant bacteria with viruses, which was quite interesting also. Many of those viruses were VERY specific about which bacteria they'd go after.

      I did hear about experiments with viral cancer treatments also; certainly it's interesting.