oncolytic virus

Definition / meaning of oncolytic virus

A type of virus that infects and lyses (breaks down) cancer cells but not normal cells. Oncolytic viruses can occur naturally or can be made in the laboratory by changing other viruses. Certain oncolytic viruses are being studied in the treatment of cancer. They may make it easier to kill tumor cells with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

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Source(s):

The Web site of the National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov/)

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