Can Zika Help Treat Brain Cancer?
New research suggests the mosquito-borne virus be a potential weapon against glioblastomas
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that has been linked to over 1,700 confirmed cases of microcephaly, a rare birth defect characterized by unusually small heads and other brain abnormalities. But it turns out that the virus' ability to invade the blood-brain barrier and placenta, while harmful to fetuses also offers clues, might make it uniquely valuable for the treatment of deadly brain tumors like glioblastoma. A feature in today's New Scientist describes ongoing work by a team from the University of San Diego, which recently found that exposing samples of human glioblastoma tumors grown in a dish to the Zika virus destroyed the cancer stem cells. Zika also enable mice implanted with glioblastomas to survive longer It's still early days but these findings represent a potentially new avenue of research in the treatment of this deadly cancer. If you would like to learn more about preclinical research of glioblastoma, check out our recent post The Deadliest Cancer, a Q&A with Charles River cancer scientist David Harris.