Home Health A dangerous virus used against cancer A dangerous virus used against cancerAmerican scientists have revealed how the Zika virus attacks fetal brain stem cells, and this may lead to new methods of combating incurable brain cancer. Health 2023-05-26 by Space Navy 0 Comment American scientists have revealed how the Zika virus attacks fetal brain stem cells, and this may lead to new methods of combating incurable brain cancer. The Zika virus has serious effects on the development of the brain during the fetal stage and babies are born with very small brains. The virus attacks the neural stem cells in the brain, which thereby fail to form a normal number of brain cells. But this very thing may be used in a positive way in another field. Zika virus may attack brain cancer cells Researchers at the University of California in the US want to use the virus as a weapon against a malignant form of brain cancer that has proven difficult to treat. Six percent of children infected with the Zika virus in the fetal stage are deformed, usually with so-called dwarfism. The type of cancer is called “glioblastoma” and it is characterized by turning brain cells into a kind of stem cells that then multiply uncontrollably and form tumors very quickly. Patients diagnosed with this disease usually die within 20 months. The virus Previous experiments had shown that the Zika virus is able to attack cancer stem cells, but not how. The American scientists have now clarified this. Prefer cancer cells On the surface of the Zika virus, there are special proteins that match certain molecules on the stem cells, just like a key in a file, and this allows the virus to enter the cell. The Zika virus unlocks a cancer cell with two keys. The virus has two proteins that match receptors on brain stem cells. When a stem cell becomes a cancer cell, it increases the number of receptors of both types, making it easier for the virus to enter. This also means that healthy cells escape. The virus has keys The Zika virus has two proteins on its surface and they fit into receptors on stem cells in the brain. Healthy cells escape There are only a few receptors of the second type on the healthy cells, and the virus has a hard time hitting the right place. The cancer cell victim The cancer cell has a lot of both receptors and is therefore much easier prey for the virus. The virus destroys the tumor The virus multiplies in the cancer cell and kills it. New viruses are now ready to invade other cancer cells. The researchers studied the file ‘avB5’ and it was found to be made up of two receptors, ‘av’ and ‘B5’. The Zika virus needs to bind to both receptors to enter. Hope for better treatment In a laboratory, the researchers investigated the ability of the virus to enter healthy stem cells on the one hand and cancer stem cells on the other, and it was found that the virus was better able to enter the cancer cells. The reason is that cancer stem cells have a lot of both receptors, av and B5, but on healthy stem cells, the av receptors are common, but the B5 receptors are much less. The discovery raises hopes that the Zika virus can possibly be adapted so that it can be used against cancer cells without attacking healthy cells.