The Zika virus could po­ten­tially help fight brain can­cer

TechLife Australia - - HOTSPOT -

THIS DEV­AS­TAT­ING DIS­EASE COULD BE PUT TO GOOD USE.

The Zika virus has wreaked havoc in South Amer­ica, Africa and South-East Asia for decades, but this dev­as­tat­ing dis­ease – spread by mosquitoes – could be used to fight and pre­vent brain can­cer in the fu­ture. A re­search team from the Univer­sity of Texas Med­i­cal Branch have suc­cess­fully mod­i­fied this po­tent virus to se­lec­tively kill cer­tain stem cells that al­low tu­mours to stay alive. So far this process has been suc­cess­ful in mice, but the team would like to “train the virus to do bet­ter”. The hope is that the mod­i­fied virus could be used to fight the most ag­gres­sive and tena­cious form of brain can­cer – glioblas­toma mul­ti­forme (GBM) – which is vir­tu­ally in­cur­able as it grows back af­ter surgery and chemo­ther­apy.

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