Virus potentially could be used to treat deadly disease
From the WashU Newsroom…
While Zika virus causes devastating damage to the brains of developing fetuses, it one day may be an effective treatment for glioblastoma, a deadly form of brain cancer. New research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine shows that the virus kills brain cancer stem cells, the kind of cells most resistant to standard treatments.
The findings suggest that the lethal power of the virus – known for infecting and killing cells in the brains of fetuses, causing babies to be born with tiny, misshapen heads – could be directed at malignant cells in the brain. Doing so potentially could improve people’s chances against a brain cancer – glioblastoma – that is most often fatal within a year of diagnosis.
“We showed that Zika virus can kill the kind of glioblastoma cells that tend to be resistant to current treatments and lead to death,” said Michael S. Diamond, MD, PhD, the Herbert S. Gasser Professor of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine and the study’s co-senior author.
The findings are published Sept. 5 in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.