Common cold virus has been found to track and attack cancer cells in a new study.
Researchers at the University of Leeds found that they were able to deliver the "reovirus" into the bloodstream and, using blood cells as rides, it can make its way to tumors without being killed first by antibodies.
Before the technique, most scientists thought that the common cold would immediately be neutralized by natural antibodies.
“It seems that reovirus is even cleverer than we had thought,” study author Alan Melcher, professor at Leeds University in the UK said in a statement, according to ABC News.
“By piggybacking on blood cells, the virus is managing to hide from the body’s natural immune response and reach its target intact. This could be hugely significant for the uptake of viral therapies like this in clinical practice.”
The study was conducted on 10 patients with advanced bowel cancer.
Read more on GlobalPost: 2 million cancer cases worldwide caused by infections, new study finds
Reuters reported that the cold virus both killed cancer cells and created an immune response that eliminated the remaining cancerous cells.
The study authors also found that the virus did not attack healthy cells, only cancerous ones.
Researchers said that the new discovery could change how a range of cancers are treated.
By injecting the virus directly into the bloodstream, the possibilites for outpatient treatment could eventually see virus-therapy just like chemotherapy.
"This study gives us the very good news that it should be possible to deliver these treatments with a simple injection into the bloodstream," said study co-author Kevin Harrington of the Institute of Cancer Research, reported the Canadian Press.
"It would have been a significant barrier to their widespread use if they could only have been injected into the tumour."