Zika virus identified as potential treatment for brain cancer

Researchers from two U.S. medical schools believe they have found a potentially live-saving use for the deadly Zika virus. 

Studies performed by the team, which hails from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, suggest the virus could prove helpful in treating glioblastoma, an aggressive cancer affecting the brain. 

release about the finding notes, “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. “ 

Researchers, “tested whether the virus could kill stem cells in glioblastomas removed from patients at diagnosis. They infected tumors with one of two strains of Zika virus. Both strains spread through the tumors, infecting and killing the cancer stem cells while largely avoiding other tumor cells.” 

It suggests, “that Zika infection and chemotherapy-radiation treatment have complementary effects. The standard treatment kills the bulk of the tumor cells but often leaves the stem cells intact to regenerate the tumor. Zika virus attacks the stem cells but bypasses the greater part of the tumor.” 

Trials performed on living mice produced encouraging results as well. 

Milan G. Chheda, one of the scientists, said, “We see Zika one day being used in combination with current therapies to eradicate the whole tumor.”

RELATED: Cities with the most risk for Zika

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50 cities with the most risk for Zika
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50 cities with the most risk for Zika

#50. Midland, Texas

Risk level: 1.38

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Low
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 161,290

Photo courtesy: Getty

#49. Yuma, Ariz.

Risk level: 1.38

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Low
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 203,247

Photo courtesy: Getty

#48. Laredo, Texas

Risk level: 1.38

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Low
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 266,673

Photo courtesy: Getty

#47. El Paso, Texas

Risk level: 1.41

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Low
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 836,698

Photo courtesy: Getty

#46. Bakersfield, Calif.

Risk level: 1.42

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Low
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 874,589

Photo courtesy: Getty

#45. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Risk level: 1.42

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Low
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 904,587

Photo courtesy: Getty

#44. Tucson, Ariz.

Risk level: 1.42

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Low
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 1,004,516

Photo courtesy: Getty

#43. Salt Lake City, Utah

Risk level: 1.43

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Low
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 1,153,340

Photo courtesy: Getty

#42. Fresno, Calif.

Risk level: 1.93

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Low
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: 10,000-500,000
Population: 965,974

Photo courtesy: Getty

#41. Las Vegas, Nev.

Risk level: 1.99

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Low
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: 10,000-500,000
Population: 2,069,681

Photo courtesy: Getty

#40. Sacramento, Calif.

Risk level: 2

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Low
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: 10,000-500,000
Population: 2,244,397

Photo courtesy: Getty

#39. San Antonio, Texas

Risk level: 2.03

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Low
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: 10,000-500,000
Population: 2,328,652

Photo courtesy: Getty

#38. Denver, Colo.

Risk level: 2.2

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Low
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: 10,000-500,000
Population: 2,754,258

Photo courtesy: Getty

#37. San Diego, Calif.

Risk level: 2.4

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Low
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: 10,000-500,000
Population: 3,263,431

Photo courtesy: Getty

#36. Phoenix, Ariz.

Risk level: 2.89

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Low
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: 10,000-500,000
Population: 4,489,109

Photo courtesy: Getty

#35. Montgomery, Ala.

Risk level: 3.92

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 373,141

Photo courtesy: Getty

#34. Huntsville, Ala.

Risk level: 3.94

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 441,086

Photo courtesy: Getty

#33. Shreveport, La.

Risk level: 3.95

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 445,142

Photo courtesy: Getty

#32. Fayetteville, Ark.

Risk level: 3.97

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 501,653

Photo courtesy: Getty

#31. Jackson, Miss.

Risk level: 4

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 577,564

Photo courtesy: Getty

#30. Augusta, Ga.

Risk level: 4

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 583,632

Photo courtesy: Getty

#29. Little Rock, Ark.

Risk level: 4.24

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 729,135

Photo courtesy: Getty

#28. Columbia, SC

Risk level: 4.36

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 800,495

Photo courtesy: Getty

#27. Birmingham, Ala.

Risk level: 4.93

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 1,143,772

Photo courtesy: Getty

#26. Raleigh, NC

Risk level: 5.09

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 1,242,974

Photo courtesy: Getty

#25. Richmond, Va.

Risk level: 5.12

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 1,260,029

Photo courtesy: Getty

#24. Louisville, Ky.

Risk level: 5.13

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 1,269,702

Photo courtesy: Getty

#23. Oklahoma City, Okla.

Risk level: 5.25

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 1,336,767

Photo courtesy: Getty

#22. Memphis, Tenn.

Risk level: 5.26

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 1,343,230

Photo courtesy: Getty

#21. Nashville, Tenn.

Risk level: 6

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 1,792,649

Photo courtesy: Getty

#20. Kansas City, Mo.

Risk level: 6.04

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 2,071,133

Photo courtesy: Getty

#19. St. Louis, Mo.

Risk level: 6.13

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 2,806,207

Photo courtesy: Getty

#18. Dallas, Texas

Risk level: 7.11

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Low
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: 500,000-1,000,000
Population: 6,954,330

Photo courtesy: Getty

#17. Charlotte, NC

Risk level: 7.38

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: 10,000-500,000
Population: 2,380,314

Photo courtesy: Getty

#16. Washington, D.C.

Risk level: 7.86

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: 10,000-500,000
Population: 6,033,737

Photo courtesy: Getty

#15. Philadelphia, Pa.

Risk level: 7.86

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: 10,000-500,000
Population: 6,052,170

Photo courtesy: Getty

#14. Los Angeles, Calif.

Risk level: 7.93

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Low
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: 500,000-1,000,000
Population: 13,262,220

Photo courtesy: Getty

#13. Savannah, Ga.

Risk level: 7.99

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: High
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 372,708

Photo courtesy: Getty

#12. Tallahassee, Fla.

Risk level: 7.99

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: High
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 375,751

Photo courtesy: Getty

#11. Mobile, Ala.

Risk level: 8

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: High
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 415,123

Photo courtesy: Getty

#10. Charleston, SC

Risk level: 8

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: High
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 727,689

Photo courtesy: Getty

#9. New Orleans, La.

Risk level: 8.01

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: High
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 1,251,849

Photo courtesy: Getty

#8. Atlanta, Ga.

Risk level: 8.13

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: 500,000-1,000,000
Population: 5,614,323

Photo courtesy: Getty

#7. Houston, Texas

Risk level: 8.14

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: 500,000-1,000,000
Population: 6,490,180

Photo courtesy: Getty

#6. Jacksonville, Fla.

Risk level: 8.38

Mosquito level in January: Low
Mosquito level in July: High
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 1,419,127

Photo courtesy: Getty

#5. New York, NY

Risk level: 8.49

Mosquito level in January: None
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: 1,000,000-2,000,000
Population: 20,092,883

Photo courtesy: Getty

#4. Brownsville, Texas

Risk level: 8.86

Mosquito level in January: Low
Mosquito level in July: Moderate
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 420,392

Photo courtesy: Getty

#3. Tampa, Fla.

Risk level: 9.14

Mosquito level in January: Low
Mosquito level in July: High
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: <10,000
Population: 2,915,582

Photo courtesy: Getty

#2. Orlando, Fla.

Risk level: 9.43

Mosquito level in January: Low
Mosquito level in July: High
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: 500,000-1,000,000
Population: 2,321,418

Photo courtesy: Getty

#1. Miami, Fla.

Risk level: 10

Mosquito level in January: Moderate
Mosquito level in July: High
Number of people traveling to the U.S. from Zika countries: 1,000,000-2,000,000
Population: 5,929,819

Photo courtesy: Getty

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