Zika virus could be used to fight brain cancer

BY IAN MARSH | PUBLISHED: 09-08-2017

The new study, conducted by researchers from Washington University School of Medicine and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, could help with that.

Zika Virus could be used to combat brain cancer in adults, a new study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine reports.

In the past, Zika -- which causes brain damage in infants -- has been regarded as a deadly threat. However, this new research shows the virus can selectively infect and kill hard-to-treat cancerous cells in adult brains. In fact, early testing showed that Zika injections shrank aggressive tumors in fully grown mice while leaving other brain cells unharmed.
There are many types of brain cancer, but glioblastomas -- which rapidly spread throughout the brain -- are both extremely common and hard to treat. In fact, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery are often not enough to cure them.

The new study, conducted by researchers from Washington University School of Medicine and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, could help with that. When the team tested Zika therapy in both living mice and donated human brain tissue samples they found it to be quite effective at combating the disease,BBC Newsreports.

The reason the strange process works is because Zika attacks stem cells, which is why it is so harmful to infants. However, adult brains have very few stem cells. That makes it so Zika will only destroy cancer-causing cells without causing too much collateral damage.

"We wondered whether nature could provide a weapon to target the cells most likely responsible [for the return of glioblastoma after treatment]," said study co-author Milan Chheda, a researcher at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, in a statement.

Though human trials are still over a year away, experts believe Zika could be a big breakthrough towards stopping life-threatening brain tumors. The team has already begun to modify the virus to make it safer for use during surgery. Researchers believe that a few changes is all it will take to make the disease ready for human trials in the next eighteen months.

"Our study is a first step towards the development of safe and effective strains of Zika virus that could become important tools in neuro-oncology and the treatment of glioblastoma," said study co-author Michael Diamond, a researcher at Washington University, according to Live Science.

 

 

Comments
Laurel Kornfeld - Sep 19, 2017
The new study, conducted by researchers from Washington University School of Medicine and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, could help with that.
Laurel Kornfeld - Sep 19, 2017
The new study, conducted by researchers from Washington University School of Medicine and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, could help with that.
Wilson Soto - Sep 19, 2017
The new study, conducted by researchers from Washington University School of Medicine and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, could help with that.
Dan Taylor - Sep 19, 2017
The new study, conducted by researchers from Washington University School of Medicine and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, could help with that.
Laurel Kornfeld - Sep 18, 2017
The new study, conducted by researchers from Washington University School of Medicine and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, could help with that.
Joseph Scalise - Sep 18, 2017
The new study, conducted by researchers from Washington University School of Medicine and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, could help with that.
Joyce Clark - Sep 16, 2017
The new study, conducted by researchers from Washington University School of Medicine and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, could help with that.