The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently gave the green light to a cancer treatment created by PrimeVax Immuno-Oncology Inc. that involves the use of a virus called the dengue virus. Like many other viruses, the dengue virus causes the patient to have a fever. However, the good thing about fevers is that they can wake up our immune system―our main defense against disease.
Scientists plan to mix the virus with cells called dendritic cells. These immune cells carry little flags on them (called antigens) that alert other immune cells (T cells and B cells) which do the actual fighting. The initial study will be done in a small number of patients with melanoma skin cancer.
If all works as hoped, the immune response to the virus will also create a powerful response to the cancer. As a bonus, the treatment will last only one week!