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Cancer-Killing Viruses

August 13, 2015

Computer-based design software could speed the creation of cancer-fighting viruses.

Transcript

.BOB HIRSHON (host):

Computer-designed cancer killers. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Autodesk is a company best known for making software for designing things like buildings and cars. But Autodesk distinguished researcher Andrew Hessel is focused on designing living organisms. One goal is building cancer-killing viruses.

ANDREW HESSEL (Autodesk):

This virus infects the cancer cell, destroys it just through viral replication, releases more virus to go on and infect more cancer cells.

HIRSHON:

But the immune system soon recognizes and attacks the virus, limiting its effectiveness. That’s where computer-designed viruses come in.

HESSEL:

By being able to make synthetic viruses, now we have a digital process whereby we can generate the next virus at the push of a button.

HIRSHON:

Theoretically wave after wave of slightly different viruses could be produced and launched against the cancer until it’s destroyed. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society. 

bacteriophage CADCAM workflow Jackie Quinn Autodesk

Bacteriophage CADCAM engineering workflow — from electronic code to 3D printed virus particle to genome synthesis and laboratory boot-up. (Jackie Quinn/ Autodesk)