Home pagePress monitoringEbola virus gene helps hunt down deadly brain cancers

Ebola virus gene helps hunt down deadly brain cancers

Date: 17.2.2020 

Glioblastomas are highly aggressive brain tumors that are notoriously difficult to treat, with the cancer cells often slipping away from the main growth and into the brain, leading to high rates of recurrence down the track. In search of more effective therapies, scientists are investigating how the cell-destroying abilities of certain viruses can be leveraged to better remove the threat.

Kredit: NIAID.A team at Yale University is now reporting an exciting breakthrough in this area, with components of the Ebola virus put to use in a promising new therapy that proved capable of killing glioblastomas in mice.

Standard treatments for patients with glioblastomas involve surgery to first remove the tumors, then chemotherapy and radiation therapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells. The trouble is, these evasive cells often escape into the brain tissue, where they hide and in time often give rise to new tumors that prove fatal.

The logic for this approach is couched in how cancer cells respond to foreign threats. When pathogens or other invaders launch an attack on the body, normal healthy cells trigger an immune response in defense, whereas the majority of cancer cells are incapable of this. Attacking cancer cells with viruses could therefore exploit this vulnerability, while leaving healthy cells largely unharmed. And the Ebola virus presents a particularly promising candidate.





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