Scientists Use Zika Virus to Shrink Cancerous Brain Tumors in Mice

UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) — Scientists think they might be able to use the Zika virus to fight brain cancer.

The virus swept across the world in recent years, causing brain damage in babies whose mothers were infected but now researchers are testing the virus’s potential ability to shrink tumors in adult human brains.

According to a study published Sept. 5 in The Journal of Experimental Medicine, scientists in the United States injected Zika into cancerous brain tumors in mice and found those tumors shrank in size after two weeks.

Researchers said the virus reduced tumor size by killing stem cells that fuel a particularly deadly form of brain cancer called glioblastoma. These kinds of tumors are very hard to destroy because the stem cells that drive them are resistant to traditional treatments.

Human trials won’t happen anytime soon, but early tests of the Zika treatment on human cell samples were reportedly successful.