Missouri company working to create virus that fights cancer

A Missouri start-up company is working to create a defense against cancer.

The company, Unleash, is creating viruses that would be designed to specifically fight cancer by kicking your immune system into gear, attacking the cancer cells and destroying them.

The company says this treatment would be less harsh on the body, unlike treatments like radiation and chemotherapy.

"Cancer is enormously adaptable and it evolves to grow and progress, and one of those abilities is to confound our immune system,” said Dr. David Curiel of Washington University School of Medicine. "We are hoping to make these viruses so smart that they have the ability for specificity with reduced toxicity."

"Global capital from places like Japan is a game-changer for St. Louis and will help turn ideas, bring them down the pipeline to the point where you can truly help change people's lives,” said Donn Rubin, president and CEO of BIOSTL.

"The hope is in the future that we'll make a so-called personalized virus designed precisely with the signature of the patient's cancer,” Curiel said.

Unleash says it will take between two and three years to get through the initial trial periods for the viruses.

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