Men with prostate cancer are to be turned into genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as part of a groundbreaking attempt to cure the disease. The new trial, which was announced at the 3rd Global Conference for Cancer Organisations, in Brighton, will use gene therapy to make the cells a target for chemotherapy.

The research will be undertaken at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, and the trial will be divided into two stages. First, the men will have a genetically engineered common cold virus carrying the gene for nitroreductase injected directly into their prostate gland. The prostate will be removed two days later so as to calculate the optimum dosage levels.

In the second phase, more cancer sufferers will be injected with the virus before being given a 'pro-drug', which is only active in the presence of a protein 'trigger' — nitroreductase. The pro-drug will be CB1954, a derivative of mustard...

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