Zika is one of the deadliest diseases in the world. Since the virus is transmitted via mosquito bites, it can spread very quickly and is hard to stop. However, a group of researchers from the United Kingdom thought of finding a use for the Zika virus, so they decided to test it as a possible treatment for brain cancer.
- Zika could help fight the most aggressive form of brain cancer.
- The disease affects the undeveloped brains of babies. On adults, the virus exhibits flu-like symptoms.
- Researchers will soon start the tests on mice.
Researchers think this virus can actually be a solution to Glioblastome Multiforme, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. Although it is a dangerous experiment, they wanted to test their hypothesis and find out if Zika might be used as a treatment for this severe condition.
This is not the first time when an infectious disease helps in the fight against other conditions. A recent study showed that malaria can also be an effective medicine for brain cancer. In fact, this determined researchers to test Zika and find out if it has the same effects. Therefore, scientists from the University of Cambridge will see how the virus acts on GBM tumor cells.
Studies have showed that Zika is only dangerous for babies, because it causes severe deformities. The virus attacks the undeveloped brain of the fetus during pregnancy. When it comes to adults, it only exhibits flu-like symptoms. Since it is not that dangerous for adults, researchers suspected Zika might really help people with brain cancer. Dr. Harry Bulstrode is one of the scientists who conducts these tests.
“What Dr. Bulstrode did was to put these two bits of information together and consider the possibility that the virus could be used to target the stem cells of brain tumors, without causing damage to the healthy surrounding cells,” mentioned Justine Alford, the Cancer Research UK Senior Science Information Officer.
At the moment, this test is in its early stages. Therefore, scientists cannot be sure if the Zika virus can really fight brain cancer. First, they are going to test their theory on mice. If everything goes right, they will move on to people who suffer from brain cancer. However, it might take some time before they can start human trials.
Image source: Wikipedia