The British Polio Fellowship marks 80 years in six months’ time and seeing an end to Polio worldwide has been the ardent wish of those of us involved in the battle to beat Polio; so it’s incredible to now see the deadly Polio virus being used to combat cancer.
If some good could come out of an ancient horror that has left countless dead and millions paralysed, that would be truly remarkable. In trials on brain cancer, 21 percent receiving experimental Polio therapy survived three years or more, compared to four percent on chemotherapy. Using a virus that left the world paralysed by fear to defeat one of the biggest killers in the modern world seems apt.
Allowing Polio to reproduce in cancerous cells and destroy them is a masterstroke and the hope is treatment could be repeated with few ill effects in a way chemotherapy cannot. Skin and breast cancers will be easier to treat and are set to form part of new trials. Hope out of helplessness would be an unexpected legacy for a disease that has left 120,000 of us in the UK living with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) a neurological condition with no cure. Polio survivors needing our support can call us on 0800 043 1935 or visit www.britishpolio.org.uk
National Chairman, The British Polio Fellowship