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A therapy that sends a modified cold-sore virus to selectively kill tumor cells and spark an immune response to a particularly deadly brain cancer in children showed promise in an early clinical trial, scientists reported Saturday. They hope their approach to high-grade gliomas will pave the way toward a combination treatment with immunotherapy that could spare children the harsh toxicities of current therapies.

Treatments that can enhance immune killing of cancer cells can revolutionize our approach to treating these patients,” Sriram Venetty, associate professor of pathology and neuropathology at the University of Michigan Medical School, told STAT. He was not involved in the study, whose results were presented at a virtual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research and published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Saturday. “The data from this paper are very encouraging and provide a lead that may enable immune-viral therapies as an option to treat these deadly brain cancers in children.”

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