Discovery on measles could spur less toxic cancer cure

A new discovery about the measles virus, arguably the most virulent pathogen which afflicts 10 million children worldwide, could also help spur less toxic cancer treatments.

The discovery by Roberto Cattaneo of the Mayo Clinic in the US and Veronika von Messling of Canada’s INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier research centre and others showed that measles virus exits its human host via protein nectin-4, which is found in the windpipe, the journal Nature reports.

Because the measles virus actively targets nectin-4, measles-based cancer therapy may be more successful in patients whose cancers express nectin-4. Such therapy could be less toxic than chemotherapy or radiation, according to a Mayo Clinic statement.

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