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In 1980, Life and Time magazines introduced America to a new cancer wonder drug: interferon, a protein ripped from the body’s own immune system that showed exciting early results, before ultimately proving both too impotent and too toxic to be useful beyond a couple of malignancies. 

Researchers have spent the decades since searching for ways to bottle and repeat the early success seen in those first studies for interferon and another immune-signaling molecule called interleukin-2, with flashes of progress and some very expensive failures


Now, a former University of California San-Francisco investigator, Nicole Paulk, is proposing a new solution. Paulk wants to take docile viruses developed for gently delivering healthy genes into patients with devastating genetic diseases and use them to slide interferons and other immune-stimulating molecules into unsuspecting cancer cells.

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