Monday, December 11, 2017
When nature gives you Zika virus ... cure cancer with it!New research shows that Zika kills the kind of brain cancer cells that are hardest to treat.Each year, glioblastoma is diagnosed in about 12,000 people in the United States (including Senator John McCain). After surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, a small population of glioblastoma stem cells often survives and soon begins producing new tumor cells. Because of their neurological origins and ability to create new cells, glioblastoma stem cells reminded the researchers of neuroprogenitor cells. Zika virus is known to specifically target and kill neuroprogenitor cells. The researchers tested whether the Zika virus could kill stem cells in glioblastomas removed from human patients. The virus spread through the tumors, infecting and killing the cancer stem cells while avoiding other tumor cells. This suggests that Zika infection and chemotherapy-radiation treatment could be used as complementary treatments, with one killing the bulk of the tumor cells and Zika attacking the stem cells.