London: The virus used in the vaccine that helped eradicate smallpox is offering new hope to liver cancer patients. Researchers have found that a genetically engineered version of the vaccinia virus tripled the average survival time of people with a severe form of liver cancer, with only mild, flu-like side effects, according to the New Scientist.Thirty people with hepatocellular carcinoma received three doses of the modified virus - code-named JX-594 - directly into their liver tumour over one month. Half the volunteers received a low dose of the virus, the other half a high dose.Results showed that members of the low and high-dose groups subsequently survived for, on average, 6.7 and 14.1 months respectively. Two of the patients on the highest viral dose were still alive more than two years after the treatment.
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