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Developing promising new treatments that use viruses to attack cancer cells

In the future, a newly diagnosed cancer patient might be able to forego harmful treatment options thanks to the work of Society-funded researchers Dr Patrick Lee and Dr Peter Forsyth. "Patients, families and doctors are frustrated with our current treatments, and we need to do a better job," says Dr Forsyth.

In 1995, Dr Lee discovered that the reovirus can seek out, infect, and attack cancer cells without causing harmful effects. Since this discovery, researchers including Dr Forsyth have continued to investigate how oncolytic viruses, both naturally occurring and engineered, can be used to kill or significantly shrink tumour cells.

The Canadian Cancer Society is currently funding work that's testing oncolytic viruses in human clinical trials because of their great potential to kill cancer cells while causing only mild, flu-like symptoms. This exciting research has the potential to revolutionize the cancer journey for many patients by developing treatments that are more targeted and effective but have fewer side effects.

The Canadian Cancer Society funds more research into more types of cancer than any other national charity in Canada. Learn more about the exciting research we are currently funding.