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. 

Image source: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/zika-virus-structure-revealed

 

Comments

Hi EnyaJaime, I was very intrigued by your article since many individuals suffer from not only the disease but by the loss of someone who was affected by this disease. Your title itself caught my attention as a virus like the Zika virus is associated with suffering and possibly death but by associating it as a cure really catches the reader off guard. Concerning your post, the details you include from the article your referred to were selected perfectly since I was left with the urge to read more and read the article you suggested. Also, by including a surprising fact that Zika can possibly cure one of the most difficult diseases to treat give hope to those reading that one day, maybe we won’t have to worry about our survival if ever we are affected by this disease. I believe your delivery was well executed and clear, leaving the reader with no questions but with a desire to learn more about how viruses can possibly be used to cure patients rather than harm them.

If you enjoyed the article you shared you might want to consider reading this article I have found online which discusses the training of viruses’ scientists are trying to impose in order to program them to kill cancer. This would be revolutionary in terms of medical advancement as not only the Zika virus could be used to kill cancer but almost every virus could be used to kill a respective cancer. The article goes into greater detail on how these viruses are being manipulated, such as the Zika virus in your shared article, to obtain the result desired where the virus kills stem cells. This being said, many lives could potentially be saved with this medical discovery and cancer could no longer be an issue.

Here is the article I discussed: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2017/03/21/training-viruses-to-b...

Best regards,

ChadScarsini

Hi Enya!

I was really curious when I read your title and you increased my curiosity once I read your commentary about the article. Actually, this one didn’t disappoint me. I thought your comments were really completed and precise, which led me to the point that I wanted to know more about the Zika virus. I firstly thought that its situation was really ironic. Then I understood that it was attacking cells, and so for the virus it does not make any difference; the consequences about which cell it attacks only make a difference for us.

Therefore, I like the article that you are proposing, because it made me learn something new. Also, I found it very relevant to me, since I know many people that have or had cancer. Hence, I think that you had a good idea to share the article, because it touches a large amount of people. I think it is an effective way to give hope to those who need it.

By staying in the same subject, I found some articles that may interest you. The first one also comes from the New Scientist journal, but it has been published after your article. To make a short summary, it talks about a specific patient who has a chronic pancreatitis- an inflammation of the pancreas-, which is a factor risk of cancer. This type of disease causes a lot of suffering for the patients. We also know that the cancerous tumors spread out into the body by using our nerves. Including to that, our nerves make the tumor maturing. This process is well explained in the article. Thus, they found a way to stop the suffering and the growth of the tumor by "cutting" the nerves already touched. The effect is a longer and painless life for the patient.

First article: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23631480-200-how-hitting-our-nerv...

The second article has been published by the Scientific American journal recently. It is about the recent approval of the FDA – Food and Drugs Administration – a new treatment against cancer. The treatment consists to displace the white blood cells to the tumors. The article informs us about the process, but also on all the pros and cons. What I also find interesting is that we can get inform about the folder of the treatment (the cost, when it is going to be available, etc.). I think it is great to stay aware of that type of information, since cancer is a disease that takes a lot of place in our society.

Second article: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fda-approves-second-car-t-tre...

Hope you’ll enjoy!
MariaZ_99