FEB 13, 2020 11:13 AM PST

Can Ebola help treat glioblastomas?

You might want to sit down for this. New research published in the Journal of Virology has named a surprising new ally to brain tumors: Ebola. Yes, you read that right.

According to scientists at Yale, elements of the feared virus could be used to treat glioblastomas, a type of brain tumor that is particularly lethal. Yale's Anthony van den Pol, a professor of neurosurgery, commented on the discovery, saying, "The irony is that one of the world's deadliest viruses may be useful in treating one of the deadliest of brain cancers.”

Ebola is a deadly virus. But could we learn something from it to fight brain tumors? Photo: Pixabay

The idea behind the research considers the fact that most cancer cells are not able to generate immune responses against pathogens like viruses. Because of this, van den Pol and his fellow colleagues decided to see if a chimeric virus could target cancer cells. A chimeric virus refers to a combination of genes from multiple viruses that the researchers could use safely without risk of infection.

The researchers pinpointed one of the Ebola virus genes because of its ability to deter an immune system response. They determined that the Ebola virus glycoprotein contains a mucin-like domain that plays a role in immune evasion and that in their investigations with mice models, MLD helped selectively target and kill deadly glioblastoma brain tumors.

According to Science Daily, Van den Pol and the study's first author, Xue Zhang, said that “MLD's beneficial effect appears to be that it protects normal cells from infection -- but not cancer cells, which lack the ability to mount an immune response to pathogens.” This is likely because the chimeric virus with MLD replicates slower.

This research was funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The authors hope that their findings will prove to be helpful in the future when chimeric viruses could potentially be used “in conjunction with surgery to eliminate glioblastoma tumors and help prevent a recurrence of cancer.”

Sources: Journal of VirologyScience Daily

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
NOV 25, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
NOV 25, 2019
Linking Intestinal Stem Cells with Increased Cancer Risk From a High-Fat Diet
The work, which used a mouse model, links stem cell activity with cellular fat consumption in a new way....
DEC 08, 2019
Cancer
DEC 08, 2019
Is there an association between smoking marijuana and cancer?
The controversy with marijuana is only likely to continue as research studies try to understand if marijuana use is associated to an increased risk of canc...
DEC 09, 2019
Cancer
DEC 09, 2019
Hair dyes associated with increased risk of breast cancer
Research recently published in the International Journal of Cancer suggests that certain hair dyes and chemical relaxants are associated with breast cancer...
DEC 23, 2019
Health & Medicine
DEC 23, 2019
Are Popular Gyms Promoting Indoor Tanning?
You might assume that by now, most humans are aware of the dangers of indoor tanning beds. However, many popular gyms include tanning beds as a perk of mem...
JAN 15, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
JAN 15, 2020
Laser microchip picks up cancer markers in urine
A future where patients no longer need to endure expensive, painful and complicated cancer tests could soon become a reality. Researchers have developed a...
JAN 14, 2020
Cancer
JAN 14, 2020
Could the flu vaccine shrink cancer tumors?
If you’ve been to the doctor recently, you’ve probably been asked if you want a flu shot this year. The flu vaccine is popular because it reduc...
Loading Comments...