February 21, 2018
Zika virus, feared for causing microcephaly in babies whose mothers were infected during pregnancy by attacking the cells that will give rise to the fetus’s cerebral cortex, could be an alternative for treatment of glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive kind of malignant brain tumor in adults.
This discovery was made by researchers at the University of Campinas’s School of Pharmaceutical Sciences (FCF-UNICAMP) in São Paulo State, Brazil.
“Zika virus, which has become a threat to health in the Americas, could be genetically modified to destroy glioblastoma cells,” said Rodrigo Ramos Catharino, a professor at FCF-UNICAMP and head of the institution’s Innovare Biomarker Laboratory.
Through the mass spectrometry analysis of Zika virus-infected glioblastoma cells, scientists also identified the presence of digoxin, a molecule which induced the death of tumoral cells of skin and breast cancer in previous experiments.