If anyone has not watched the HBO show VICE, I think you are missing out on some good news reporting. Not the kind of news reporting that tries to sway judgement on a position. VICE is the kind of reporting that presents the facts and lets you decide your own view or judgement. A recent episode caught my undivided attention as I watched a report on doctors using viruses to cure cancer. I was astonished and amazed at the possibilities that could be presented with this technology. The viruses in question today already exist and are re-engineered to perform other functions.
Here is the link: http://killingcancer.vice.com/
The one part of the episode that astonished me the most was the use of the HIV virus to kill cancer cells to the point of complete remission. This treatment was not a one fits all type of cancer but rather it focused on a certain form of leukemia prevalent in children. Testing on the different types of viruses to fight cancer are not done in some back alley or in a foreign third world country but rather at cancer institutions such as the Mayo Clinic and the University of Penn Medical Center. These are centers of research, academia and cutting edge treatments.
Let’s begin with the understanding that you are not being infected with the HIV virus nor does it cause AIDS. You will not need to take antiviral drugs nor HIV medications like AZT. Think of it as getting a flu shot to boost your immune system. I know that some of you think you are getting injected with the flu, but you are not. To simplify it, the HIV virus has been purified and re-programmed to perform another function. We know the HIV virus attaches itself to the immune system and reprograms the immune system to create copies of itself and infect. A re-programmed virus does the same thing but it is re-programmed to attack cancer cells.
Now leukemia is a cancer that affects your body’s blood forming tissues and lymphatic system. The most common forms of leukemia alter your white blood cells. These are the fighters in your immune system. White blood cells are very important to fight infections. If your white blood cells are distorted or destroyed, then a simple common cold can actually kill you.
The new HIV virus will redesign the new white cells being created in the bone marrow and attack the leukemia cells all over the body. As one white cell recognizes the foreign (cancer) cell, your immune system will signal to create more of the same white cells and try to eliminate these cells. The actual treatment is very rough on the body. They say it is similar to going through several rounds of chemotherapy or 12 rounds with Mike Tyson. Chemotherapy targets the bone marrow and surrounding cells but kills everything in site.
Similar studies are being performed using the measles virus and the common cold virus. So far, there have been success stories of cancer in remission and lives being brought back to normal. There is a lot of work to be done still but the potential to treat cancer with a shot in the arm rather than chemotherapy and drugs is worth researching.
What do you think?