Enemy turned ally: Poliovirus is used to fight brain tumors

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(AP) - One of the world's most dreaded viruses has been turned into an immune system therapy to fight deadly brain tumors.

Doctors said survival was better than expected for patients in a small study who were given modified poliovirus, which helped their bodies attack the cancer.

It was the first human test of this and it didn't help most patients or improve median survival. But many who did respond seemed to have long-lasting benefit: About 21 percent were alive at three years versus 4 percent in a comparison group of previous brain tumor patients.

The treatment was developed at Duke University with help from the National Cancer Institute. Results were discussed Tuesday at a conference in Norway and published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

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