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Oncolytic viruses

Oncolytic viruses infect tumour cells, where they can either kill the cell directly or act as a flag to the immune system.

There are currently no oncolytic viruses approved for treating brain tumours within the NHS, but research is ongoing.

Find out more about clinical trials here.

What is an oncolytic virus?

Viruses can infect and kill cells. Some naturally occurring viruses, as well as viruses that have been altered in the lab, infect and kill cancer cells. These are known as oncolytic viruses.

Along with killing the cells directly, the viruses can also alert the immune system to attack the cancer cells.

Dynamite for Cancer Cells

A virus to cure cancer? It’s possible! Some viruses can infect cancer cells specifically, and cause them to burst. These are known as oncolytic viruses. Watch the video for more information about this.

Read more about immunotherapies for brain tumours here.

Make the right choices for you

Our Step by Step interactive guide outlines what happens following a diagnosis, to answer your questions and help you to understand what to expect.

If you have further questions, need to clarify any of the information on this page, or want to find out more about research and clinical trials, please contact our team:
Support and Information Services
0808 800 0004 Free from landlines and mobiles
Phone lines open Mon-Fri, 09:00-17:00

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By taking part in our Improving Brain Tumour Care surveys and sharing your experiences, you can help us improve treatment and care for everyone affected by a brain tumour.