Health Tips Can the Zika virus actually kill brain Cancer?

That leads scientists to believe that the Zika virus can function as a complementary treatment for glioblastoma.

  • Published:
24/7 Live - Subscribe to the Pulse Newsletter!

The same virus that poses a serious threat to the developing brains of fetuses may have a surprising benefit: The Zika virus may be able to kill certain brain cancer cells, a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found.

The Zika virus is considered riskiest for pregnant women, since it can infect developing fetuses and kill cells in their brains, causing a birth defect called microcephaly—a condition where the baby’s head is much smaller than expected.

But it turns out, the power of the Zika virus may be directed at a type of brain tumor called glioblastoma, a cancer which often causes death within a year of diagnosis. When scientists tested two strains of the Zika virus on glioblastoma stem cells—which produce new cancer cells and are generally resistant to standard cancer treatments—they discovered that Zika killed those particular types of cells while leaving other tumor cells intact.

That leads scientists to believe that the Zika virus can function as a complementary treatment for glioblastoma. Standard chemotherapy and radiation generally wipes out the bulk of cancer cells, but the glioblastoma stem cells usually remain unscathed—eventually allowing the tumor to redevelop. Since the Zika virus kills the glioblastoma stem cells, it may be able to be used in conjunction with standard treatment to give the cancer a one-two punch.

“We see Zika one day being used in combination with current therapies to eradicate the whole tumor,” study author Milan G. Chheda, M.D., said in a statement.

When the researchers tested the treatment on living mice with brain tumors, they discovered that those injected with the Zika virus showed tumor shrinkage after two weeks, and lived longer than those given a placebo shot, too.

Injecting a virus known to cause brain defects into the brain sounds crazy, but researchers believe it will be safer in adults since their brain lacks the primarily types of cells Zika likes to target.

Still, scientists are investigating whether they can genetically modify the Zika virus to be even safer, with the hopes they can use that strain to test in humans with brain cancer, New Scientist reports.

Do you ever witness news or have a story that should be featured on Pulse Ghana?
Submit your stories, pictures and videos to us now via WhatsApp: +233507713497, Social Media @pulseghana: #PulseEyewitness & DM or Email: eyewitness@pulse.com.gh.

Recommended Articles

Recommended Videos




Top Articles

1 Sex & Relationships 4 out of 5 women want you to do this in bedbullet
2 Sex & Relationships 'The girls next door' reveal whether size really...bullet
3 Fitness How this man got sober, lost 190 pounds, and turned his life...bullet
4 Fitness Blast your entire upper-body with these 4 movesbullet
5 Fitness You won't see a single crunch in this core workoutbullet
6 Guy Smarts Why your deodorant might be making you flabby,...bullet
7 Guy Smarts Does early gray hair mean your health is at risk?bullet
8 Guy Smarts I'm a urologist, and this is what it's like to...bullet
9 Fitness This 19-year-old with Cerebral Palsy is a...bullet
10 Fitness How to lose an inch of belly fat in just 7...bullet

Top Videos

1 Maria Bello & Viggo Mortensen sex scene in "A History of Violence (2005)"bullet
2 DAY 17: Alexis Ren by Phil Poynter #LOVEADVENT2017bullet

Mens Health