A New Use for Polio Vaccine?

The polio virus, once feared for its power to cripple and kill, may be the key to treating deadly brain tumors. That's where the polio vaccine comes in.

Dr. Greene presents some promising news about the polio vaccine…

The polio virus, once widely feared for its power to cripple and kill, may be the key to treating deadly brain tumors. A report at the May 2001 meeting of the American Society for Microbiology described how the virus targets and destroys the tumor cells of malignant gliomas, which are among the most common and lethal of brain cancers.

An inactivated form of the virus, something similar to a vaccine, has been used to treat brain tumors in animals – all of the tumors shrank away completely within days, with no polio-like side effects. The US National Cancer Institute is working on a polio-based drug for humans, with human testing expected within a few years.

Published on: May 23, 2001
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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