Doctors at Duke University are experimenting with injecting a modified version of the polio virus into cancerous tumors and are finding that it helps destroy the tumors, reports 60 Minutes.
The brainchild of Dr. Matthias Gromeier, a molecular biologist at Duke Medical Center, the idea that cancerous cells could be destroyed using the virus was once dismissed, but now is getting serious attention based upon early results.
“I got a range of responses, from crazy to you’re lying…most people just thought it was too dangerous,” said Gromeier, after he proposed his idea.
According to Dr. Henry Friedman, a neuro-oncologist and deputy director of the Brain Tumor Center at Duke University, “I thought he was nuts.”
“I really thought he was using a weapon that produced paralysis,” said Friedman who has been researching a cure for glioblastoma for more than 30 years. “This, to me, is the most promising therapy I have seen in my career, period.”
Gromeir explained that human cancers develop protective measures to make them invisible to the immune system, but he said the polio treatment removes that shield and allows the immune system to attack.
Researchers believe that the re-engineered polio virus starts killing the tumor, but then the body’s own immune system does the real killing.
Today, after research, animal trials, and early successful human clinical trials, researchers are taking Gromeier’s idea very seriously.
One patient — retired cardiologist Dr. Fritz Andersen, who has undergone the treatment — is a believer, saying, “I feel it’s a cure and I live my life that way.”
Watch the video below from 60 Minutes: