Could the Zika Virus Cure Brain Cancer?
by EnyaJaime on September 18, 2017 - 10:22pm
In the past couple of years, the Zika virus made headlines as the world grew more and more concerned about the health effects it could have on us humans. During that time, the scientific community has been hard at work trying to find an efficient treatment, but the solution to the Zika virus remains a mystery to this day. However, the extensive research on this topic has led to a brand-new discovery: the Zika virus could help cure brain cancer.
But how exactly can such a harmful virus, one that can cause serious birth defects on babies like paralysis and microcephaly – an abnormally small head and brain size-, help cure a seemingly unrelated disease such as cancer? According to the scientists at the University of California, and as reported in the September 2017 issue of the magazine New Scientist, the answer lies in the virus’ ability to kill stem cells. In the same way that it attacks the stem cells inside the brain of foetuses, the Zika virus can attack and kill cancer cells, which are often mutated stem cells.
This discovery proves to be extremely important, seeing as Glioblastoma, the type of brain cancer the virus attacks, is one of the most difficult diseases to treat, and usually results in the death of the diagnosed patient in less than a year. Although no tests have yet been carried out on live humans due to the fear of transmission, a study conducted on nine mice affected by Glioblastoma showed that the Zika virus doubled the life expectancy of four of them.
These promising results should soon convince more scientist to look into the benefits that could be gained from using the Zika virus to attack cancerous cells. And who knows? Maybe in a couple of years, this could lead them to eradicating brain cancer completely!
Access the full article (https://www.newscientist.com/article/2146356-we-may-be-able-to-use-zika-virus-to-attack-brain-cancer-cells/) for more information on how the Zika virus could help cure brain cancer.