Zika virus helping treat neuroblastoma

Health Watch

IVANHOE NEWSWIRE – Neuroblastoma is the most common cancer in kids under age one.

Now researchers are using the zika virus to treat this devastating childhood cancer.

COVID-19 is at the top of everyone’s mind right now, but just a few years ago, another virus was making headlines.

“Zika virus, when you hear that, it gives people fear.”

The virus is spread by infected mosquitos and can cause birth defects in the children of pregnant women. But these researchers are now using the zika virus to bring hope to young children battling cancer.

“It turns out that there are a number of tumors that may be amenable to treatment with zika virus.”

One of those is neuroblastoma, a cancer that starts in the early nerve cells of kids.

“Stage 4 or high-risk neuroblastoma and their survival is only about 40 percent, even with advanced treatment.”

In a study, zika virus was injected into mice with neuroblastoma tumors. the virus attached to a protein specific to cancer cells, leaving normal cells alone.

“Approximately 90 percent of the neuroblastoma is killed with a single injection of zika virus.”

The idea of injecting the zika virus can still sound scary, but

“Anyone after they’re born is pretty resistant to zika virus infection, the exception hopefully being their tumors.”

The team is now focused on perfecting dosages and identifying which tumors the zika virus will attack. Besides neuroblastoma, the researchers say this treatment could also be effective against brain tumors.

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