New Research Prove Zika Virus Could Cure Brain Cancer.
A harmful virus that can cause devastating brain damage in babies could offer up a surprising new treatment for adult brain cancer, according to US scientists. But latest research shows the virus can selectively infect and kill hard-to-treat cancerous cells in adult brains.
Human trials are still a way off, but experts believe Zika virus could potentially be injected into the brain at the same time as surgery to remove life-threatening tumours, the Journal of Experimental Medicine reports.
There are many different types of brain cancer. Glioblastomas are the most common in adults and one of the trickiest to treat. They are fast growing and diffuse, meaning they spread through the brain, making it difficult to see where the tumour ends and the healthy tissue begins.
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Radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery may not be enough to remove these invasive cancers. But the latest research, in living mice and donated human brain tissue samples, shows Zika therapy can kill cells that tend to be resistant to current treatments.
Until now, Zika has been seen only as a global health threat – not a remedy. First lets get to understand Zika Virus out break which became known to the world in 2015. This terrible epidemic swept through Brazil in June 2015, as many of us could still remember. At first, the harmful bacterial did not cause significant worry. However, due to the worsening of the situation, the whole world began to have cause to be concerned.
In February 2016, members of the WHO (World Health Organization) declared an international alarm, seeking to find urgent ways to treat the Zika virus. Asians and Americans was first to have experience the infect of the bacterial spreed by mosquitoes. The fact is that the Aedes mosquito, the distributor of this disease, is present Africa as well. It exists in a lot places, where people are already battling malaria. This insect also carries many other tropical diseases. It has a black color and white spots. The average length of its wings can be from 1.6 to 3.8 millimeters.
Despite the long history, the world community did not take Zika seriously. Its outbreaks were episodic and we never saw it in the colossal scale that we see in recent years. It was believed that sick people were not fatally affected, so there is no special reason for panic. However, the situation in Asia and America dramatically changed the views of mankind about the virus. It was noticed that when a pregnant woman has the disease, the baby ends up having a strange appearance and deformities.
Symptoms of Zika virus which was proved by WHO (World Health Organization) as sign of:
Minor headaches; itching rash on the skin (first it appears on the face and then spreads all over the body);pain in muscles and joints with possible edema of small joints;hyperemia and inflammation of the conjunctiva (conjunctivitis);pain in the eye area;intolerance to bright light.
If a pregnant woman catches this disease and the Zika virus affects the child, developmental defects often appear, including microcephaly where the child is born with a reduced mass of the brain and a reduced skull. This state is accompanied by a child’s retardation in mental development.
In adults, after the infection, single cases of the development of the Guillain-Barré syndrome were discovered, which is a formation of an autoimmune process with muscular weakness (myasthenia gravis). Usually, the manifestations of this syndrome disappear independently without residual effects.
A new study suggests that the same properties that make Zika a dangerous virus for unborn children could be useful in treating brain cancer in adults. The study was done in lab dishes and animals, and much more research is needed before it could be tested in humans.
It’s thought that the Zika virus naturally targets and kills brain stem cells, which are abundant in fetal brains during development. As a consequence, women infected with Zika virus during pregnancy are at increased risk of giving birth to children with neurological problems. But adults have fewer active stem cells in their brains, and as a result, the effect of Zika on adult brains is usually much less severe, the researchers said.
What’s more, the growth of certain brain cancers — including often-lethal glioblastomas — may be driven by cancer stem cells that divide and give rise to other tumor cells. These glioblastoma stem cells are typically resistant to therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation, and may fuel the return of the cancer after treatment. The researchers hypothesized that the Zika virus could target these cancer stem cells.”We wondered whether nature could provide a weapon to target the cells most likely responsible” for the return of glioblastoma after treatment, study co-author Milan Chheda of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said in a statement .
The researchers found that the Zika virus preferentially targeted and killed human glioblastoma stem cells in a lab dish, without having much of an effect on normal adult brain cells.
Next, the researchers tested the Zika therapy on mice with glioblastomas. To do this, they injected a mouse-adapted strain of Zika virus into the glioblastoma tumors. (The strain of Zika virus that infects humans does not infect mice.) They found that mice treated with Zika showed slower tumor growth and lived longer than those that didn’t get the Zika treatment. All of the untreated mice died after about a month, but close to half of the treated mice were still alive after two months, the researchers said.
Still, much more research is needed to show that the therapy is safe and effective in humans. The researchers plan to genetically modify the Zika virus so that it is weaker and would not be expected to cause disease. A preliminary test of such an “attenuated” Zika strain showed that this virus was still capable of targeting and killing glioblastoma stem cells in a lab dish. “Our study is a first step towards the development of safe and effective strains of Zika virus that could become important tools in neuro-oncology and the treatment of glioblastoma,” said study co-author Michael Diamond, also of Washington University.
But concerns over the safety of a Zika-based therapy will need to be addressed with further studies in animals before the therapy is tested in humans, Diamond said. Ultimately, the Zika therapy might be used along with other traditional brain cancer therapies to treat glioblastomas, the researchers said. The new study is published (Sept. 5) in The Journal of Experimental Medicine. Zika is not the only virus being considered as a potential treatment for glioblastomas. Other research groups are testing measles, polio and herpes viruses as possible ways to target glioblastomas.