CANCER patients have had their disease wiped out by the common cold.
Scientists found a strain of the virus successfully targets and destroys tumour cells.
One bladder cancer patient had no trace of their disease a week after being treated with the bug.
Medics said they were “surprised” by the response, which could revolutionise how they tackle the illness.
Current bladder cancer treatments are not very effective and can be toxic.
The Surrey University trial involved 15 people in early stages of the illness.
They had a concentrated solution containing the coxsackievirus strain of cold flushed around their bladder for an hour.
A week later, medics found the bug had successfully infected the cancerous cells and caused them to die.
It also acted like a “burglar alarm”, alerting the body’s own immune system to attack the disease. Crucially, no one suffered any side-effects and healthy tissue was unaffected by the virus.
Larger trials on a range of cancers are planned.
Lead researcher Professor Hardev Pandha said: “It works by warming up the tumour and getting all the immune soldier cells recruited to the right place.”
Cancer Research UK called the results, published in journal Clinical Cancer Research, “encouraging”.