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Newcastle Disease Virus (PDQ®)

  • Last Modified: 02/03/2014

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Overview

This complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) information summary provides an overview of the use of Newcastle disease virus (NDV) as a treatment for people with cancer. The summary includes a brief history of NDV research, a review of laboratory and animal studies, the results of clinical trials, and possible side effects of NDV-based therapy. Several different strains of NDV will be discussed in the summary, including the Hungarian strain MTH (More Than Hope)-68. Information presented in some sections of the summary can also be found in tables located at the end of those sections.

This summary contains the following key information:

  • NDV is usually thought to be an avian (i.e., bird) virus, but it also infects humans. Although NDV causes a potentially fatal, noncancerous disease (Newcastle disease) in birds, it causes only minor illness in humans.

  • NDV appears to replicate (i.e., reproduce) substantially better in human cancer cells than it does in most normal human cells.

  • Individual strains of NDV are classified as lytic or nonlytic. Viruses of both strain types can kill cancer cells, but lytic strains have the potential to do this more quickly because they damage the plasma membrane of infected cells. Nonlytic strains appear to kill by interfering with cell metabolism.

  • Lytic strains of NDV have been studied in humans for their ability to kill cancer cells directly, but viruses of both strain types have been used to make vaccines in an attempt to stimulate the immune system to fight cancer.

  • NDV-based anticancer therapy has been reported to be of benefit in more than a dozen clinical studies, but the results of these studies must be considered inconclusive because the study designs were weak and the study reports were generally incomplete.

Many of the medical and scientific terms used in the summary are hypertext linked (at first use in each section) to the NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms, which is oriented toward nonexperts. When a linked term is clicked, a definition will appear in a separate window.

Reference citations in some PDQ CAM information summaries may include links to external Web sites that are operated by individuals or organizations for the purpose of marketing or advocating the use of specific treatments or products. These reference citations are included for informational purposes only. Their inclusion should not be viewed as an endorsement of the content of the Web sites, or of any treatment or product, by the PDQ Cancer CAM Editorial Board or the National Cancer Institute.