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The Zika virus could be used to treat aggressive brain tumors

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Posted at 4:32 PM, Sep 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-06 16:32:07-04

Scientists just found a silver lining to Zika.

Yes - Zika. It may actually help treat aggressive brain tumors.

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New research is suggesting this virus, which causes brain damage in developing babies, could be used to treat glioblastoma, a deadly form of brain cancer, according to a paper published by the Washington University School of Medicine.

Researchers found Zika injections reduced the size of cancerous tumors in mice and left surrounding brain cells unaffected.

The research paper explains that Zika attacks stem cells, which are abundant in babies' brains as they develop in the womb. Stem cells are not nearly as prevalent in adult brains, however, glioblastoma originates from stem cells, which divide and grow in the brain as the cancer spreads. Therefore, injecting Zika into a patient with an aggressive brain tumor would effectively attack the stem cells causing the tumor to grow.