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Zika Virus Appears to Preferentially Target Glioblastoma Stem Cells

A collaboration between researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine has uncovered promising results using Zika to combat glioblastoma. The scientists theorize that the same mechanism that effects the growth of developing brains in human babies is signaling the glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) to malfunction and die. Michael S. Diamond, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine at Washington University and co-senior author on the study, is very encouraged by the results which offer hope for combatting one of the most treatment-resistant types of cancer.

One study found that using Zika virus to target brain cancer in adult mice successfully shrank aggressive tumors, while another study led by Zhe Zhu, PhD, introduced the Zika virus to GSC cells collected from a patient at diagnosis and found that the virus precisely targeted two types of difficult-to-treat cancer cells in the lab setting. Dr. Diamond hopes human trials in the US can begin in early 2019.

Click here to review the publication in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.