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Friendly Viruses!
Show #265 - Date: 5 Jul 2020
Dr Stephen Griffin
Categories: Cancer Vaccines, Drug Development, Immune System, Innovative Treatments, Research-Science-Evidence, Toxins - Detox
Keywords: oncolytic viruses,oncolitic viruses,cancer therapy viruses,viral oncology, viral immunotherapy,cancer cell grotwh,seratin,cancer vaccines,cancer viruses, immunotherapy,viral immunotherapy,toxins,tolerance,innovative treatments

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Friendly viruses – Dr Stephen Griffin

Robin Daly: Hello, Welcome to the Yes to Life show on UK Health Radio. This week is one of those forays into the world of research, and actually research into a subject we have never approached on this show: Oncolytic Viruses, and Viral Oncology. What does this mean?

It means the study of viruses and cancer, but not just viruses as a cause for cancer which we have heard a lot about. But also viruses to treat cancer, a much less appreciated subject. Doctor Stephen Griffin is an associate professor at the University of Leeds and he heads up the Antivirals and Viral Oncology Research group there, I am speaking to him over the internet.

Thanks so much for joining us on the show today.

Dr Stephen Griffin: It is a pleasure Robin.

Robin Daly: You lead the Antivirals and Viral Oncology Research group at the University of Leeds. For many people, the term Viral Oncology will probably any point to the concept of viruses being yet another thing from the Daily Mail limitless list of things that can cause cancer.

Well, it is certainly true that viruses have not had the greatest press lately. I think it is fair to say that Viral Oncology actually refers to a strand of research that has had some optimistic news to share on cancer.

Dr Stephen Griffin: That is true, we actually look at both aspects. We look at how viruses cause cancer, but also how we can use certain viruses as a form of what we call Immunotherapy to target cancers.

Robin Daly: I am really looking forward to digging into this territory. I do not know very much about the tool. I think we are set for one of those shows where we run out of time long before I run out of questions.  How interested should people be in what is happening in Viral Oncology in your opinion?

Dr Stephen Griffin: I think it is safe to say that the recent use of what we were calling  Immunotherapy, which people may have come across more in terms of these antibodies, which sort of take the brakes off your immune response to these checkpoint antibodies we can see that is having tremendous success in Immunotherapy.

That really does show us the power of our immune response.  In terms of tackling cancer, Viruses represent another way of achieving Immunotherapy and Immunotherapy is a very broad term. It just means any kind of manipulation of your Immune response that serves to have a beneficial effect.

The viruses rather than, generally taking the brakes off, which is what the antibodies do they tend to sort of put their foot down on the accelerator, so  they acts as a sort of stimulation to your immune response try and tap into your cancer.

Robin Daly: This is definitely a growing area, which the public are becoming more aware of the concept of harnessing the body’s own immune system or encouraging it in order to tackle cancer. It is definitely much more broadly accepted and known about.

Going forward, you have to excuse me if I ask some pretty basic questions along  the way, or get you to explain terminology that you take for granted, but I myself am no kind of scientist and nor are most of my listeners, but that does not mean to say we are not interested in the topic. When I was growing up, the only appropriate response to bacteria was annihilation with a potent toxic chemical, and a huge industry was built around this view.

So later on in life, I get to find out that we are actually walking bacteria colonies, and I have got more of these critters in me than my own cells, and in fact they are at the very heart of the immune system that keeps me safe and alive, and even protects me from cancer. So now that bacteria is looked on a little more kindly, it does seem that viruses have taken their places, the bad guys we were up against, but is this really true?

Or are viruses actually also a foundational part of our makeup?

Dr Stephen Griffin: Certainly! Pharmacists have evolved the last millennia and you can see that about DNA; much more DNA is made up of viral sequences, but that is probably for another day.  I think if there are any infectious agents it is a question of, being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Many of the bacteria you have mentioned, that cause serious diseases will only do so if it happens under certain circumstances. Many of us live with those sorts of bacteria in our bodies, but they only cause disease if something tips that balance and a lot of nature is about balance.

I think you are right, certainly at the moment viruses have got a very bad press and it is probably because viruses are a very severe threat to human health and we are working on sounds, as you might imagine. But, the understanding more about how our bodies interact with either bacteria or viruses allows us to use those interactions hopefully to our benefit.

Robin Daly: So as you said, it is a case of the right thing at the right time or the wrong thing at the wrong time, as to whether they are threats or actually just parts of a general life.

Dr Stephen Griffin: Yes

Robin Daly: Okay. So I am reasonably familiar with the concept of bacteria being used as treatment for cancer, going back to the work of William Coley over a hundred years ago, but I cannot really claim to know anything about viruses being used in this context.

Can I ask whether it is fair to say that bacteria and viruses share a common territory when it comes to treating cancer?

Are they similar concepts in some way?

Dr Stephen Griffin: Actually Coley’s Toxins which you are referring to, is a very similar idea where it acts as a broadly acting stimulus to our immune response and in doing so we hope that can counteract some of the sort of effects that tumours have on our immune responses, which generally is to dampen them down.

Tumours really do not like having an active immune response going in to them and you can see that when people have successful therapy. You can also see that when people are more prone to developing cancer.

The balance of our immune response and it is not the entire stretch of the imagination, but the immune response has evolved to maintain the integrity of our bodies and to do away with, invasive, and threatening entities and the problem we have with cancer is that entity is derived from our own bodies.

It is a slightly more complex question than invading pathogens in some ways.

What you have to do is try and manipulate your immune response to act in a way that it might otherwise not do. That is the trick we would refer to that as what we call tolerance. Our immune response not doing anything about the tumour is what we would call Immune Tolerance.

If you can break that tolerance to your tumour allow your body to recognise that, that tumour is a threat and mountain appropriate response to it. That is the rationale for Immunotherapy. One way of doing that is to, as I said is to take the brakes off and unleash a more powerful response with these antibodies that people use and other ways to do that is to give it a big sort of push and is like, Coley’s Toxins are inclusive viruses that we are here to talk about today are another way of doing that.

Robin Daly: To compare the two using bacteria or using viruses, is a virus the next step on?

Are they more effective in some way?

Dr Stephen Griffin: Well, they have different properties, but what they are trying to achieve is triggering our bodies what we call innate defences, at least initially. Our bodies are primed within every cell to recognise the presence of literally foreign matter. Things like proteins, and nucleic acids, and stuff that would make our DNA or RNA virus sometimes is when they are in the wrong place at the wrong time again that triggers a very pronounced response.

For example, these innate pathways which are just set to trip and activate your immune system straight away can give rise to a more tailored, and specific response which we would call our Adaptive Response where you would make antibodies, have started to toxic T cells that come in and kill tumour cells. We want to try and stimulate both of these arms of the immune response to try tackling our cancers.

Robin Daly: Right something else in looking at a comparison between bacteria and viruses, I know during the life of using bacteria as a treatment Coley started off using live bacteria, and actually moved on to using dead bacteria as they found they worked quite as well without killing as many patients. So has something similar happened with viruses are these live or dead?

Dr Stephen Griffin: Well, that is actually a very interesting question because most of them are actually used live, most of them are usually attenuated lessened in their pathogenicity, so their disease causing ability. That can be done either naturally, or it can be genetically engineered to do that, or we can manipulate it in the lab to do that. So take away its sort of natural vigour. But also one of the projects that we have been exploring in the lab recently is indeed using a killed virus to approach therapy for liver cancer.

Robin Daly: What did you found out so far?

Dr Stephen Griffin: So it is interesting?

Robin Daly: Yes. Is it looking like it is comparable in terms of its action?

Dr Stephen Griffin: It is certainly different. So yes, it does work. In fact, this is not published yet but it is something we just have funded by the medical research council, and, where we have taken something called Rio virus.

Rio virus is a virus that causes very mild tummy upsets and life sentence in young children.  It has been used in many, many human trials as an oncolytic, so cancer liaising or killing virus. We found that whilst that virus does have some effect in our models bearing in mind these are only animal models in the lab.

When we have used our killed version of the virus in combination with another drug, we actually find it works just as well on its own if not slightly better. It works far better when we combine it with this drug that is already been used to for people with cancer. That is really exciting.

What we are beginning to understand by that is that the virus is actually stimulating that innate response that we talked about just now in a slightly different way, to how the live virus does. It may be that sort of thing that underpins this being the more successful therapy.

Robin Daly: Is it an over-technical question to ask what the slight difference is?

Dr Stephen Griffin: No, not really.

There are sort of different aspects to that sort of stand by response, some of which cause sort of direct responses that would kind of disable the evading pathogen or virus, some of which sort of promote the generalised inflammatory state and so attract other white blood cells. This seems to be more geared towards the former. The approach seems to activating something called Interferon which you may have heard of, and particularly something called Interferon Beta, and various different signals which are attracting certain types of other white blood cells towards the tumours in these livers. But I do stress that this is very much experimental at this stage, but Rio virus is known to work in trialled scenarios.

What we actually looked to do in the future, with this drug is to combine the viruses with other forms of cancer therapy because combinations in cancer tend to work better because they can evolve resistance and become harder to treat if you just give them one series of therapy.

Robin Daly: That has always been an issue with the cancer, it does not matter how good the treatment is it  usually has a limited life because cancer is so bloomin’ smart finding some way around. These combinations do seem to be the way forward it is stunning what is happening in terms of just bringing in and adding an ingredient to an absolutely bog standard treatment that has been used for years and  is moderately successful, but suddenly is improved several folds by adding in another ingredient.

Doctor Stephen Griffin: This drug in particular that we are looking at is something called Serafenib. What that does is it manipulates some of the growth signals and the cells needed to divide, and of course cancer cells need those signals more than our normal bodies because cancers are dividing and growing much more quickly.

Serafenib is actually used to treat liver cancers and some related jobs.  What we are finding is that it is not so much the sort of anticancer effect per say of that drug. It is more the combination the drug kind of conditions the tumour, the signalling, and the immune responses to receive this stimulus with the virus.

By altering the response to the virus as well, we think the combination of those two entities are giving a much better therapy and in fact, potentially a Synergistic therapy. Working actively together rather than just being the sum of two things. We think that is working tremendously well, but I hasten to add it the laboratory in STEM.

Robin Daly: I have talked to a few people on the show who are doing work into what would be considered far from frontline approaches, but a kind of natural therapies. That is well integrated with the standard therapy actually make an enormous difference.  It is very striking how this can happen with a simple vitamin. It is a very interesting area of research.

Dr Stephen Griffin: Yes certainly we know that there is a tremendous interest in combining, viruses like this with the existing forms of Immunotherapy that were already licensed. The antibodies, abs, and other checkpoint inhibitors are being combined with viruses in trials.

I should also mention there are viruses that are in fact licensed therapies for cancers already. There is a virus called Herpes simplex virus, which has been genetically modified so that people can use them to treat skin cancer for example.  So there is precedent there for these things to be very well tolerated and very useful clinical agents already. If we can understand how to use them properly to the best of their ability we can see great things happening in the future.

Robin Daly: One other area I want to ask, we have all talked about this sort of overlap with bacteria. Is there any overlap with the work that you are doing and Dendritic Cell Therapy work kind of personalised vaccines are created to retrain the immune system to recognise cancer cells.

Dr Stephen Griffin: Sure Dendritic cells are the sort of the cornerstone of the sort of bridge between that and in nature response and what we would call the adaptive response. Dendritic cells are important in programming, as you mentioned the more tailored aspects of the immune response towards killing the tumour.

Were people have sort of designed Dendritic cell vaccines they are using the tumour itself to try and stimulate those. So you use material from the tumour and you either very specifically or in a very broad brush straight feed the Dendritic cell almost, that information says if the proteins are present, or you can program them genetically to present those targets for your adapt in response. We would hope to achieve a similar outcome by adding in our viruses and causing this quite broad immune activation. This is because once you start to get death in the Ima itself as a result of the response that will also liberate these targets, these antigens which would get presented in dendritic cells to our adaptive immune responses.

And certainly we know that the adaptive immune response in our models is important as well as the innate immune response. So, yes all these things do link together. It is wise to try to integrate as many aspects of effective responses as you can.

So, certainly dendritic cells are a cornerstone to oncolytic virus therapy.

Robin Daly: Now, just going back to something you said earlier, you described your work as effectively putting your foot on the gas, basically with the immune system so that to me says that immediately there are types of cancer for which is just not suitable at all because those the immune system is already overdoing it.

Is that right?

Dr Stephen Griffin:  Well no, generally the immune response is suppressed by tumours. If you compare the ability of white blood cells that invade certain tumours, to respond to a target, or to kill chemical stimulation that would otherwise activate them to go on and kill infected cell for example. If you compare those within a tumour to those extraneous to the tumour or blood supply you can very readily show that the majority of tumours that their ability has been greatly diminished and that is because tumours have tricks that they play to basically convince your immune response that it is not time to act. One of those tricks is something that the antibody mediated in Immunotherapy therapy to target.

These checkpoints which tell the immune system to switch off are what those antibodies will target. In particular a target called PDL on tumour cells, but they also have secrete empirical cytokines, which are signals which will suppress the response to white blood cells. So ideally you will try and re-stimulate that immune response.

There are tumours where there are ongoing inflammatory processes and indeed inflammation can itself be a cause of cancer where you have a chronic inflammatory state where you get high cell growth in terms of that. But that is a slightly different aspect we are talking about after the tumour has formed; we are trying to re- stimulate those immune responses.

Robin Daly: Right you have been talking about solid tumours, what in the case of Blood cancer or Lymph cancer?

Dr Stephen Griffin: That is an important question.

It is something that a colleague of mine Fiona Erinson Maze is looking at; they are tricky to treat because obviously you have got ira cells in your circulation and obviously in your bone marrow. But Fiona is certainly showing efficacy for various different oncolytic virus therapies against blood cancer.

Then again in laboratory models and there are trials ongoing as well.  Certainly, blood cancers are a harder target to hit in some ways we would hope that the same sorts of tactic and strategy is as applicable to blood cancers as well.

Robin Daly: So given that it is early days in terms of you knowing what works and what does not I am just interested to know what you have found out.

You have already talked about the fact that it seems these are a great adjunct to conventional treatments, and that may be the best way to use them.

Do you have any sense of any particular cancer types that might be really well suited to that possibly are very hard to treat in any other way?

Dr Stephen Griffin: The model we use is Liver Cancer and that is because I have worked on the liver for quite some time. Because my interest is of urologists STEM from working a lot on the hepatitis C virus, which is one of the magic causes of liver cancer.

What we published a few years ago was that using this Rio virus, and some other forms of viruses to stimulate immune responses against models of liver cancer including those where hepatitis C was present stress these only models, with that scenarios are difficult things to  recapitulate in the laboratory.

What we found was two things; one that the virus does not de-cause an anticancer effect by the stimulation of immune responses, and actually that the killed virus as I mentioned earlier works similarly in that scenario.

But there is a secondary affect in that the immune response in that adding the second virus, the Rio virus, the therapeutic virus, to the system actually causes an enhanced antiviral response against the hepatitis C. So you are not only tackling the tumour itself. You are also tackling the virus that is driving that tumour forward. We think that immune therapies in tumours that are caused by viruses themselves might be an interesting sort of nuance of these tumours to target. We proved that for Hepatitis C, also a model of Hepatitis B, and a model of Epstein BARR virus which you mentioned is the cause of a blood cancer. It is a similar principle and they all are fundamentally hanged around this idea of the interferon is central to these responses and that has antiviral properties as you may know.

Robin Daly: Do you have off the top of your head, the proportion of cancers that are viral based?

Dr Stephen Griffin: Sure. There are different estimates, but something between 20 and 30% of tumours are thought to be associated with virus infections. If you look at the majority of Liver Cancers across the world, which is one of the deadliest cancers caused by either hepatitis B or hepatitis C. You have Papilloma virus, of course, for cervical cancer and skin cancers. Epstein-BARR and many, many others.

Viruses are unknown sorts of cancer causation and many of them cause it directly as well as indirectly through interplay activation of the immune response.

Robin Daly: I am guessing that this proves as effective as you are hoping that the stage of the cancer really is not going to come into it is just as likely to help somebody with a late stage cancers early stage.

Is that true?

Dr Stephen Griffin: Well a late stage cancer that has metastasized and spread around body is always going to be harder to treat. However, we do know from other studies with oncolytic viruses, where for example, the tumour has been injected with a virus one tumour you start to see regression in the other tumour sites as well.

So if you achieve what we call a systemic, so the whole body response to that tumour you can see it happening across multiple sites in that body.

That is certainly achievable and of course if you can administer your virus throughout the entire body through the blood stream for example then that is a good way of targeting things which you may or may not even be able to see on a scan. For example small metastatic tumours that are hard to pick up in various different issues, should be spotted by our immune response far better than a scan but there are nuances as to where your immune response is most effective.

The more advanced a tumour, the more disordered and chaotic its growth patterns may be. So you may have to approach it with a tougher therapeutic response but certainly yes we would aim to tackle systemic disease by the stress,

Robin Daly: Which of course is the logic behind giving a lot of chemotherapy, particularly to late stage cancer patients which is not a walk in the park is it at all.

So this is a largely nontoxic treatment. Is that fair?

Dr Stephen Griffin: The viruses themselves have shown to be very mildly well tolerated by patients. It is honestly something that is very well tolerated by cancer patients in particular.  Let us remember a lot of patients that have advanced cancer are in a very poor state of health.

And trials with the Rio virus that we use can have colleagues such as Alan Melcher, who I worked with have done trials where you can infuse very large quantities of virus into the bloodstream of these patients with very mild effects. Sort of a very range temperature for a short period of time that very rapidly resolves and you still get the beneficial effects of that virus.  It Is very well tolerated.

Robin Daly: That is fantastic because of course everybody knows that Chemotherapies can be extremely damaging quite apart from being a horrendous ride of side effects, they can actually create a permanent damage.

So this is a very different ballpark.

Doctor Stephen Griffin: Chemotherapy is itself very useful in many respects because, you would look to potentially combine chemotherapy with viruses as well.  It is really dependent on the tumour itself, but of course lessening toxicity is a huge goal in any cancer therapy.

Robin Daly: Just nipping back for a second to something you were saying about that this is a systemic treatment and you are seeing things happening on other parts of the body when you are targeting one particular.

How much of that do you put down to the fact that this stuff gets everywhere?

And how much would you put it down to the Abscopal effect which is something which I always take an interest in?

It seems to be a fascinating thing, which is this thing about you, treat a cancer in one place and other tumours elsewhere actually respond.

Doctor Stephen Griffin: Sorry. I am not very familiar with that.

Robin Daly: I think it is a fascinating thing, but it is actually documented

Doctor Stephen Griffin: Does that relate to the immune response?

Robin Daly: Well yes that is right it is.

The kind of theory if you like behind it is that you treat a primary tumour, this wakes up the immune system to a certain extent which then deals with other tumours elsewhere. So it is quite documented, but it is not often capitalised on. So it is noted in things like radiotherapy.

Dr Stephen Griffin: Immunotherapy does definitely seek to achieve that yeah.

The idea would be that, so its oncolytic viruses are so called because the original concept was to do with them selectively replicating within and therefore killing the tumours themselves.

And that does indeed happen to an extent, depending on the virus that you use and that that is a major application of these and sure enough the direct injection of these viruses in tumours with just one of the very many models that we look here does do that. It will kill them. Also you are right, because when you see death in those tumours if it is extensive death beyond the sort of standard you often get a lot of death of cells in tumours, that sort of what we call an aquatic core.

If you see that death and you break down the resistance that tumour to the immune response there you are liberating these targets that are associated with the tumour, these tumour associated antigens, which will then get as you say, primary immune response. If the secondary tumours throughout the body are similar, or the same at least in that respect to that parental tumour then sure enough your immune response should target those at the same time.

So that is absolutely what you see when you do Immunotherapy in melanoma and there were other examples of that. So yes, that will certainly be mechanism in which we hope systemic responses would occur by administering these viruses. The viruses are not necessarily reaching every part of your body and killing the tumours directly.

There will be an extensive tumour death, less so then we think with our killed virus that is important to stay. That is one reason why we think that the immune response itself is more important. Certainly you need a mechanism by which you are going to identify those targets of the tumour that you are adapting in response to change.

So that is a very important effect and you are right that is an incredibly important aspect of targeting systemic tumours.

Robin Daly: You have already said very well tolerated. I mean, if there are to be side effects, what are they?

Dr Stephen Griffin: Well, they are fairly mild so it depends again on the virus that you are giving it and the route by which you give it.  It also can depend on whether you have already experienced an infection, this virus as well.

The example that we use for Rio virus for example, is if we give it intravenously you will see a raised temperature and a small peaking in liver enzymes because your entire bloodstream goes to your liver so you got to Transmit Itis, very mildly in certain patients not all patients, just certain patients.

And that is just literally the liver dealing with that virus; it goes away again very quickly. There seems to be sort of an almost vaccine reaction that some people might have, for example.

But it does depend on the virus, but it seems to be that even giving these very large doses of viruses are very well tolerated indeed.

Robin Daly: Interesting. So unlike the bacteria in that was more like a trial by fever where you are actually trying to induce a fever with the bacteria.

Dr Stephen Griffin: Well, that certainly is what occurs in these patients as well. But we do keep a very careful eye on them.  They are monitored for any kind of offense recently colleagues of mine in Leeds did a trial with brain tumour patients for example, they were tremendously closely monitored for any kind of adverse effects that the virus may be causing .

Of course with advanced cancer patients you are possibly a little bit more tolerant of the effects that you would expect compared with healthy patients being trialled for example. But there are certainly no life threatening or severe issues associated with those trials that in know of.

Robin Daly: Am I able to ask how do you get on with the brain cancers?

Dr Stephen Griffin: There is a larger study ongoing, and that was what we called a Window of opportunity study where patients were given the virus just prior to them having their brain tumours removed surgically. And so what we were looking for there is to see evidence that the virus had gone to those tumours in the brain.

That was primary brain tumours, as well as tumours that have metastasized the brain as well.  What we saw there was published in Science Translational Medicine recently, was that yes you can indeed detect the virus there, and you can detect the stimulation. They respond that virus and against the humans in senses and also the tumour itself is upregulating these ricks that it plays to try and downregulate your late immune response, which means that you can actually combine the virus we think with the antibody mediated, checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapies that people are quite familiar with. So again, it is sort of building that idea of a combinatorial approach situating these cancers.

It was a really fantastic study and largely driven by my colleagues Samson and now chair the chief.

Robin Daly: Having new tools to use with the brain cancers is a great thing is it not because they are not so uncommon and they are a terrible cancer to have.

And so many things do not actually get to the brain tumours do they never get there, so to have a treatment that can cross the barrier is a gem. So viruses have got this kind of double-edged sort of thing about it when it comes to cancer, they certainly seem to be at the root of some cancers as we have discussed, but they also show potential in the search for approaches to treating it. I suppose this is true of many approaches to treating cancer course, it is well known that most of the common treatments used today actually carry a risk of giving you cancer. So, are there any risks in using viruses as a means to cure cancer because of the fact they also caused them.

Dr Stephen Griffin: I suspect it is unlikely that they would risk generating another cancer that would be relatively unlikely what you might risk is an immune mediated pathology. So it is sort of auto immune type response to that is quite common in antibody mediated therapies people will develop colitis or hepatitis or skin reactions and things like that.

If that can be well managed it usually is a sign that the immunotherapy is more likely to work certainly anecdotally. There are dates from now I think. So again, it is sort of going back I will connect back to what you said about Coley’s it is a sign that you are stimulating immunity.

What the trick will be is to tailor those therapies more so that you do not get the adverse effects and you would get the transmit itis effects without any kind of toxicity whatsoever that is the Utopia here. That is sort of more on the dendritic cell vaccine, car T cells that sort of idea we are very much targeting the tumour but the difficulty in that is of course that tumours evolve and change.

By being broad you are kind of mitigating that aspect, but you run more of a risk of systemic toxicity.

Robin Daly: As ever it is complex is it not there is never a simple answer here. It is always a minefield working your way through it. A quick question to get in before we finish are there any trials that the public can apply to join?

Dr Stephen Griffin: Yes there are several, not necessarily just with the virus. We use Rio virus. We were not at the stage of using our inactivated agent yet.  That is going to be a few years in the making, but there are several trials the oncolytic trial is ongoing . Trials for things like modified bacteria viruses for liver cancers for example.

There is a real virus trial actually come to think of it for brain cancers running in the UK there are many, if you look on ClinicalTrials.Gov and search for virus and inquisitive virus, you will see several. And of course there are always trials exploring it.

So yeah, there, are multiple aspects of that. And it is something we get asked quite a lot whenever we publish can I have access to this therapy? My advice is to contact your clinician and to speak to them directly about potentially accessing a trial. Certainly it is mastered, overseen by people like Kevin Harrington they run oncolytic virus trials and elsewhere in the country as well. So yes, it is important and Leeds is a pretty large centre for that sort of, clinical trial for oncolytic viruses and my colleague had Adam Samsung is running at least two at the moment, if I recall. So yed, they are definitely ongoing.

Robin Daly: That is great, good to hear. Well, this has been a fascinating talk as I predicted we could have gone a lot longer. I feel I have learned a huge amount and I am certain that many of our listeners will greatly appreciate you sharing your expertise with us so thank you so much Stephen.

Dr Stephen Griffin: I hope it made some sense and we will keep you posted going forward.


Robin Daly: Well, I loved hearing all about the work going on at Leeds and elsewhere very encouraging. It seems to be great potential, the powerful new ways to combat cancer that is a largely non-harmful which we desperately need.

The last couple of weeks I have been drawing our attention to one of the great new features of the Yes to Life website. The searchable show page. If you have not already taken a look, please do. Go to and click the link to the Yes to Life radio show that is on the home page. They can search the archive of over 250 shows for topics, or guests that interests you. And while you are there do also look at another great new feature of the site, the upgraded life directory of therapists and providers of integrative medicine. Click the link to providers and therapists that is also on the home page and you will be able to search the vast store of information to find therapists or providers to help you.

Just try the what is nearby feature, to instantly find services within a specified distance of your home.  You can also do more sophisticated searches; say for providers of medicinal herbs or mistletoe in the Midlands and the North of England. If you wanted to get the most out of the directory, there is a short how to video on the start page.

We are really pleased with these new features and sincerely hope that they prove as useful to you as we intended. Thank you for listening today I hope you found the talk as interesting as I did and will be able to join me again at the same time next week for another Yes to Life Show on the UK health Radio goodbye.



Radio show transcript edited by Jade Higgins, Literary Transcript Editor