A research team at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, has found that the naturally occurring alphavirus M1 can selectively target human cancer cells.
Tests on animals showed that injected virus M1 can find its way to tumor tissues and inhibit their growth without hurting other normal cells.
The novel virus mainly targets the zinc-finger antiviral protein(ZAP) -- deficient cancer cells, including liver cancer, colorectal cancer, bladder cancer and melanoma.
An unnamed expert said the virus is promising to become a key factor of oncolytic virotherapy.
The research report has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.