A harmless virus could provide a breakthrough treatment for cancer victims.
Patients have had their tumours shrunk or stopped from growing after being injected with reovirus and treated with radiotherapy.
The development offers new hope to patients who have been told they have terminal cancer.
The reovirus is carried by most humans but is not associated with any disease. Tests on new drug Reolysin, which contains particles of the virus, has shown it magnifies the effects of radiotherapy with astonishing results.
In trials at London's Institute of Cancer Research, one patient had a large tumour in a salivary gland shrunk enough to be surgically removed.
And another who was close to death with a serious form of skin cancer was still alive 17 months after starting treatment.
The main purpose of the trials was to test whether Reolysin was safe, but researchers also measured tumour responses for 14 patients of the 23 who took part.
All 14, who had a range of advanced cancers - including lung, bowel, ovarian and skin cancer - that had stopped responding to traditional therapies, saw their tumours either shrink or stop growing, the journal Clinical Cancer Research reported.
Tumours shrank in two patients and stabilised in five who received low-dose radiotherapy. Of seven patients on high-dose radiotherapy, tumours shrank in five cases and stabilised in two. The side effects of radiotherapy were not made worse by the reovirus. The latest findings support those from tests last year on another drug containing the virus.
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