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29 Sep
Zika Virus Could Treat Brain Cancer Zika Virus Could Treat Brain Cancer

Zika Virus Could Treat Brain Cancer

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Until recently, the medical community has only seen the Zika virus as something to fear. Transmitted through mosquito bites and intercourse, the disease has affected people across the globe since it was first identified in 1947. In addition to risk of illness and death, it also puts pregnant women in danger, causing fetal birth defects like microcephaly.

But new research shows that Zika could actually save lives. A team from the University of California, San Diego found that the virus kills brain cancer cells without affecting the normal brain cells around them.

Testing was a challenging process, since injecting a virus into the brain can be dangerous. The team started with mice, observing that Zika selectively killed off brain cancer cells. Recognizing that rodent brains differ from brains of humans, the team also tested human brain tissue in a petri dish and found the same results.

To study how a lesser strain of the virus would affect cancer cells in the brain, the team injected a weaker form of Zika into brain tissue. Although it wasn’t as effective as the stronger version, it did kill some cancer cells while leaving brain cells intact. The possible treatment is still very early in the testing stage, but researchers are hopeful that it could someday help cancer patients.

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Read 1180 times Last modified on Monday, 25 September 2017 05:13
Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and novelist whose work has appeared on NYPost.com, PSMag.com, the Intuit Small Business Blog, and many others. She is the Simon & Schuster author of 8 children's books, including the Piper Morgan chapter book series, 25 Roses, and 30 Days of No Gossip.

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