A cure for brain cancer – 2003

What made me dig around in virology again:

Those of you who are familiar with my Solar Wind crew, will know that the young redhead Paean is a tinkerer with cloning. sw1new She boards the Solar Wind already clued-up in herb lore – the only “streetwise” medicine she and her impoverished family could get their hands on.  When Doc shows her that cloning machine, the “Genitron”, her creativity takes wings.  For a hot-headed teenager, maybe not the most suitable pastime; she clones dangerous combat weapons, manipulative psychoactive stuff and so on.  She also creates a few monsters, just because.

She never gives it up, and the theme runs through most of the sequels (though it is not the main theme).  In one of the late sequels, “Valleylon”, she is at it again, in self-defense.  So of course I can’t deviate too far from reality as she bases her stuff on known biological entities.

In my research I came across the following (NON-fiction articles) :

Researchers Use Crippled Poliovirus to Attack Brain Cancer


DURHAM, N.C. — In a daring yet successful experiment to cure deadly brain tumors, researchers have combined the cancer-killing properties of poliovirus together with a harmless genetic coding element from the common cold.

The resulting modified virus created a remarkably strong anti-cancer agent that rapidly killed cancer cells in laboratory cell cultures and in animals — and without causing polio, said Matthias Gromeier, M.D.

That is amazing.  Who’s with me?  That is totally amazing!

Especially in the light of this piece of Doom:

ALL the Vaccines Are Contaminated – Every Last One of Them


None other than the (now deceased) head of vaccines at Merck, Dr. Maurice Hillerman, who on camera admitted that Merck’s Hepatitis B vaccines, contaminated with a virus, caused the AIDS epidemic in the US. He went on to say that all of Merck’s vaccines are contaminated with cancer and other viruses. (The US government has conceded the HEB B vaccine causes Lupus. That vaccine is mandated for every infant in the US on the day of birth, and is associated with MS as well.)

That vaccine is mandated for every infant in the US on the day of birth, and is associated with MS as well.)


Contamination of the polio vaccine and the continuing effects

FACT: Before the Polio Vaccine, there had never been a virus from another species deliberately injected into humans.

FACT: 61% of all human tumors (at autopsy) now contain the SV40 monkey virus, traceable to the Polio vaccine of the 1950s and 60s

FACT: CUTTER vaccine division and WYETH produced a deadly Polio vaccine with a live virus that actually gave the recipient POLIO

FACT: All above information was withheld from the public for years to avoid a public panic and to prevent a loss of faith in vaccines. polio was a very rare infectious disease that presented little risk to the public, but the risk was greatly exaggerated by the Polio Foundation before the introduction of the polio vaccine, the miracle vaccine – contaminated with a monkey virus which has been the cause of soft tissue cancers for decades since.

(My comment on above article:Of course I won’t be surprised to find those voices that get paid to shout down the spreading of such anti-vaccine information…  but for you others I’d just like to note that despite a couple of spelling errors, whatever science was quoted in that article is referenced and the references look pretty genuine; it is also heavily referenced in other ways.  If you really want to delve, go ahead and follow all the links.  I followed a number of them and came across a number of surprises.)

But that was just as a cautionary note, on how dangerous these viruses are.  Back to the amazing, real world, non-fiction cancer cure:

To understand how the polio virus in reference 1) can’t get dangerous, you need to understand the molecular binding mechanism of the virus.  (I don’t go into such detail in the SciFi story “Valleylon”.)

The virus needs two things to replicate:

1) to get into the target cells (neurons)

2) to bind to a specific site on the replicating machinery.  This site is known as IRES.

To achieve 1), it has to be a poliovirus, with all the correct machinery to sneak past the blood-brain barrier, recognize neural cells and invade them.

But this doesn’t help it, if it can’t get 2) right as well; then it simply hangs around in that neural cell as a passenger, watching life go by (possibly playing Facebook games).

To achieve 2), it still needs to be poliovirus, because the IRES of normal neural cells is different from the IRES of other cells.

Rhinovirus (cold virus) typically doesn’t infect brain cells.  So the logic of swapping the IRES of the poliovirus out with the IRES of the rhinovirus is good:  it will be able to get into the brain cells but that’s where it stops.

Cancer cells however are highly susceptible to virus in general, so (as shown in – yikes – animal trials) the recombined virus goes to town in the actual cancer cells, destroying them within hours.  Without giving the animal polio or attacking any normal nerve cells.

Imagine a tumour disappearing in hours.


Gromeier selected the IRES from a rhinovirus because it does not typically infect the human brain. Normal brain cells lack the appropriate environment required for the rhinovirus IRES to begin translating the poliovirus’s genetic information, his study demonstrated.

Cancer cells, however, regulate gene expression very differently than normal cells do. They grow faster, lack growth inhibitors and generally provide a supportive environment that is highly susceptible to viruses of all sorts, making viruses an excellent invader to disrupt cancer’s growth.

So, see, not all genetic cloning is evil!  But here comes the kicker:

Those of you who looked up the ref, will have noticed the date of the publication.  2003.

Happy New Year.  We have 2015.  Where is that anticancer virus??

I invite anyone who has some knowledge, or no knowledge but an opinion, to come and discuss.


11 thoughts on “A cure for brain cancer – 2003

  1. Where, indeed? It can’t have been squashed by drug companies, because there surely isn’t any major business with drugs relating to brain tumours. So is it simply too expensive? Or bogged down by petty bureaucracy? I do suppose a fear of other effects could be valid – if the virus, after zapping the cancer, merrily mutates into something nasty, for example.

  2. I found this fascinating. Sorry I read it the other day, but like you, I’m stretched a bit thin, so I’m lurking and not commenting until I can sneak a bit of downtime to allow things not to get out of hand.

    I thought polio was regarded as a significant threat (well, in the significant scheme of things) in the 40s and 50s, certainly in UK and US. I also can’t remember when they stopped giving the oral polio vaccine, but did that kill off this research? Dunno.

    You mentioned the anti- anti-vacs brigade. Perhaps I should call them anti- pro-vacchoice. There is a huge and very vocal wave of public opinion who will not accept any negative studies about vaccines (that was then, this is now etc, which would negate the extracts you quoted above), and their view is very rigid. Fundavaccis perhaps?

    One of the oncologists I worked with was telling me about a patient information trial he’d done with a patient who had brain cancer. We were talking about tape recording (at the time) patient interviews as there is so much for a patient to take in and remember.

    My colleague had already tried this out. Trouble was, he’d forgotten he was on tape when the patient asked, ‘what would you do if you were me?’ Imagine the words, bend down, kiss, goodbye and shoot myself. We never did take that project further. Imagine the legal recriminations too.

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