Virus Takes On Cancer ...
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23-07-2014, 08:53 AM
Virus Takes On Cancer ...
From personal research, I've come to understand, fear, and respect the power of Virus - it actually terrifies the living shit out of me. I knew they'd been doing research for quite some time and I've kept my eye out for promising news.

This looks pretty damn promising ...

http://news.psu.edu/story/319106/2014/06...cells-mice

Quote:Adeno-associated virus type 2 (AAV2) infects humans but is not known to cause sickness. In prior studies, the researchers tested the virus on a variety of breast cancers that represent degrees of aggressiveness and on human papillomavirus-positive cervical cancer cells. The virus initiated apoptosis -- natural cell death -- in cancer cells without affecting healthy cells.


Of course, more tests and research needs to be done ... but shit... if I had cancer right now... I'd be looking to score me some AAV2. Thumbsup

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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23-07-2014, 03:51 PM
RE: Virus Takes On Cancer ...
Wow, pretty cool! Thanks for sharing Big Grin

People used to laugh at me when I would say "I want to be a comedian". Well nobody is laughing now!

You can never lose a homing pigeon - if your homing pigeon doesn't come back, what you've lost is a pigeon.
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24-07-2014, 03:07 PM
RE: Virus Takes On Cancer ...
I'm hesitant to trust this research. Viruses do not reproduce in the traditional sense. They get the infected cells to make more copies. These cells are usually healthy. Cancer cells are damaged. Have you ever tried creating a pseudo-life form from damaged DNA without fixing the DNA first? Shit's gonna happen.

Also, I Am Legend. Just sayin'. Wink

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24-07-2014, 03:54 PM
RE: Virus Takes On Cancer ...
(24-07-2014 03:07 PM)One Above All Wrote:  I'm hesitant to trust this research. Viruses do not reproduce in the traditional sense. They get the infected cells to make more copies. These cells are usually healthy. Cancer cells are damaged. Have you ever tried creating a pseudo-life form from damaged DNA without fixing the DNA first? Shit's gonna happen.

Also, I Am Legend. Just sayin'. Wink

Oh, I'm always hesitant to trust any research.
Cancer is a tricky bugger, it replicates host cells and it does it so well, that even the body's own immune system often doesn't recognize it, until it's too late. The thing about virus is, they replicate the host cells too, which is key to triggering the body's own endocrine and immune systems... but some virus also inform the RNA... it's like an extra epigenetic arsenal. I think we're on the verge of finding this to be a key factor in how cancer cells "switch on and off" and how the body's own systems attack it.

They've already seen evidence of similar interaction between cancer and virus but, many virus (rabies is an RNA virus) have a tendency to quickly become far more deadly than cancer. This particular virus seems encouraging because of it's seemingly innocuousness. So far. Wink

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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28-07-2014, 10:11 AM
RE: Virus Takes On Cancer ...
I am working with viruses in the lab myself, and let me inform you a little bit about this.

We are using well-characterized viruses as tools in our research, when we want to inject a target DNA into e.g. human fibroblasts or mouse models. You name it. The viruses we use for such purposes are genetically engineered, so they are unable to proliferate. If viruses should be used for cancer therapy, they will be genetically modified viruses that behave in a very controlled manner.

Viruses also have the advantage that they are quite target specific by recognizing protein components that are present on the outside of cells. These proteins are often cell specific. The idea is to genetically engineer viruses that specifically recognize and infect cancer cells, thereby shutting them down and killing them.

But as always, journalists inflate such matters tremendously. The problem with cancer is that
a) there are a multitude of different cancer cells, which differ in their membrane structure
b) it is very difficult to near impossible to differentiate a cancer cell from a somatic cell by looking at the surface proteins alone

If viruses are used for therapy, it is not that uncontrolled proliferation might cause problems. The biggest concern would be the infection of somatic cells. By inserting themselves and their genome into the host genome, the viruses might disrupt important genes and thereby cause cancer themselves. That is also the reason why we have to be utterly careful when working with viruses in the lab. Not because they might proliferate within our body, but because we would run a high risk of cancer.

I am open for further questions, if you would like.

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
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28-07-2014, 11:36 AM
RE: Virus Takes On Cancer ...
(28-07-2014 10:11 AM)Youkay Wrote:  I am working with viruses in the lab myself, and let me inform you a little bit about this.

We are using well-characterized viruses as tools in our research, when we want to inject a target DNA into e.g. human fibroblasts or mouse models. You name it. The viruses we use for such purposes are genetically engineered, so they are unable to proliferate. If viruses should be used for cancer therapy, they will be genetically modified viruses that behave in a very controlled manner.

Viruses also have the advantage that they are quite target specific by recognizing protein components that are present on the outside of cells. These proteins are often cell specific. The idea is to genetically engineer viruses that specifically recognize and infect cancer cells, thereby shutting them down and killing them.

But as always, journalists inflate such matters tremendously. The problem with cancer is that
a) there are a multitude of different cancer cells, which differ in their membrane structure
b) it is very difficult to near impossible to differentiate a cancer cell from a somatic cell by looking at the surface proteins alone

If viruses are used for therapy, it is not that uncontrolled proliferation might cause problems. The biggest concern would be the infection of somatic cells. By inserting themselves and their genome into the host genome, the viruses might disrupt important genes and thereby cause cancer themselves. That is also the reason why we have to be utterly careful when working with viruses in the lab. Not because they might proliferate within our body, but because we would run a high risk of cancer.

I am open for further questions, if you would like.

Thank you for making my brain work. Not kidding.

Questions:
Is cancer the worst that could happen with an improperly engineered virus?
How does the infection by the virus cause the cells to die?

Now some less important questions (IMO):
How are the viruses kept from proliferating?
How are viruses engineered in the lab? Can you assemble a virus "by hand", or do you just create the genetic material and put it inside an empty "shell"?
Finally, is there any consensus as to whether viruses are alive or not? What is your opinion on the subject?

The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
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31-07-2014, 07:18 AM
RE: Virus Takes On Cancer ...
Don't worry, engineering viruses is not that difficult. Cancer is the worst thing that can happen.

The virus injects its genomic DNA into the target cell. From there there are a multitude of possibilities. The injected DNA may code for a gene that induces cell death (apoptosis) or shuts down essential processes.

Viruses are well charactarised. There are genes involved in the life cycle of a virus, some which are needed for the sythesis of viral proteins and some for the replication of its genome. The preferred method is to impede the synthesis of coat proteins, that would form the shell of a virus, by simply deleting those genes from the viral DNA. Once the virus infects a host, it is unable to produce new viral particles.

In the lab, we engineer viral DNA by standard genetic methods and then infect cells (our tools). The cells will then generate viruses, which we can harvest.

Are viruses alive or not? I don't think there is a consensus. There is a clear answer depending on the definition of life and being alive. I dont think this question is important. The mechanism by which viruses work fit into evoltuion and a self replicating species. I find this simple, yet elegant parasitic mechanism awe inspiring.

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
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31-07-2014, 08:23 AM
RE: Virus Takes On Cancer ...
(31-07-2014 07:18 AM)Youkay Wrote:  Don't worry, engineering viruses is not that difficult. Cancer is the worst thing that can happen.

Cancer is still pretty bad, though. Incurable (most of them, anyway) and quite unpleasant, to say the least.

(31-07-2014 07:18 AM)Youkay Wrote:  In the lab, we engineer viral DNA by standard genetic methods and then infect cells (our tools). The cells will then generate viruses, which we can harvest.

Smart. Do you use random cells you grow yourself, or is there some kind of special cell you use (such as HeLa cells or whatever they're called, though I heard they can spread far too quickly and contaminate anything that gets too close), or do you take cells from the patient?

(31-07-2014 07:18 AM)Youkay Wrote:  Are viruses alive or not? I don't think there is a consensus. There is a clear answer depending on the definition of life and being alive. I dont think this question is important. The mechanism by which viruses work fit into evoltuion and a self replicating species. I find this simple, yet elegant parasitic mechanism awe inspiring.

Awe-inspiring? Only if you take into account its astounding adaptation to just about anything. Other than that, if you consider viruses to be alive, they're the only living thing I hate. I wouldn't mind taking a flamethrower to every virion on Earth and burning them alive. If I didn't have bigger things in mind, I would've studied biology and tried to find a way to eradicate them from the face of the Earth forever. That's how much I hate them.

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Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
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31-07-2014, 10:33 PM
RE: Virus Takes On Cancer ...
Viruses causing cancer when curing cancer is the goal of the whole enterprise is quite unproductive anyway.

There are modified cell strains which are used in labs as research tools. HeLa is one of them. Another very popular cell line is HEK293T.

The awe-inspiring part of viruses in my opinion is their increadibly simple but sophisticated way to hijack cellular processes and completely reprogramm cells. For instance, viral mRNA has a structure called IRES, which imitates ribosomal elongation complex and hijacks the translation machinery, so viral proteins can be produced. The insertion of their genome into the host genome is also quite impressive. And most impressive I think is that their genome is so small, but all genes are compressed into such a small space with simple but elaborate regulation.

As with most things, the deeper you delve into a subject and the more you understand, the more amazing it becomes. I am not saying that I LIKE pathogenic viruses. But their mechanisms are very impressive to me.

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
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