Herpes Virus Used to Treat Dental Cancers

Saturday 7th August 2010

NHS doctors have been able to use a genetically engineered version of the cold-sore virus, Herpes, to treat patients with mouth cancer. The Royal Marsden NHS Trust, working with the Institute for Cancer Research, injected the virus into 17 patients where it multiplied inside cancer cells causing them to burst and release a protein that boosted the patient's immune system.

The British Dental Health Foundation has praised the results of the new medical treatment – with 75% of the patients studied showing no returning tumors or negative side affects in the two years following the innovative treatment.

Mouth cancer can be caused by smoking, drinking alcohol excessively or by contracting human papilloma virus through unprotected oral sex. Over 5,000 new cases of mouth cancer are diagnosed every year in the UK alone.

Dental experts advise that eating a healthy diet rich in fruit, vegetables and fish could improve the health of the mouth and reduce the risks of developing mouth cancers.

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