"Our results suggest that adeno-associated virus type 2, which infects the majority of the population but has no known ill effects, kills multiple types of cancer cells yet has no effect on healthy cells," said Craig Meyers, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Penn State College of Medicine in Pennsylvania.
I've long been convinced that there are many as-yet undiscovered 'contagions', especially viruses, that serve to improve rather than harm health. I suggested the term saluvirus for any such viruses a few years ago -- and have tracked further evidence suggestive of saluviruses since, including:
This latest news -- of a pervasive virus that is not only harmless but may actually cure cancer -- further suggests we may be swimming in as-yet-undiscovered naturally-occuring health-giving contagions. Viruses like this latest discovery could explain otherwise mysterious total cancer remissions -- via catching an anticancer virus by chance.
This discovery also suggests a more comprehensive research program: take every category of pesky pathogen -- bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungi, and parasites -- and look for more organisms of the same type but beneficial effect. Of course, many types of symbiosis and commensalism between life forms are already known, but down to the level of microbial contagions, there seems an overwhelming focus on the bad with little search for the good. (Would a 'salugen' be the opposite of a pathogen? 51 hits right now, several promoting cannabis as a 'salugen' substance, none emphasizing microorganisms.)
Inquiries into the diet and lifestyle choices of the long-lived -- whether anecdotal or statistically rigorous -- have already been done to death. Let's get the healthiest old folks among us under a microscope instead, take some tissue samples, grow some cultures, and see what they've got crawling around inside them that the rest us should get, too.