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Medical Breakthroughs: Using the Zika Virus to wipe out Neuroblastoma cancer

Medical Breakthroughs: Using the Zika Virus to wipe out Neuroblastoma cancer
6 days 18 hours 18 minutes ago Monday, June 10 2024 Jun 10, 2024 June 10, 2024 12:54 PM June 10, 2024 in News

A team of doctors in Florida are working on a life-saving treatment that could cure a childhood cancer by using another deadly virus.

The Zika Virus is typically spread through mosquito bites.

Now, a team of researchers at Nemours Children's in Orlando is using this same virus to wipe out Neuroblastoma.

"It's a smart missile, it was targeting certain cells and only those," Research Scientist Joseph Mazar said.

"We know that Zika is working in Neuroblastoma because Neuroblastoma expresses a protein on its cell surface. It's called CD24," Pediatric Surgeon Tamarah Westmoreland said.

For the study, researchers grew the tumors on the back of mice. After a single injection of the Zika Virus, researchers saw a total elimination of the cancer within 10 days.

But for the mice who received an injection of saline, the tumors grew by as much as 800 percent.

"You have human tumors that are being eliminated rapidly, efficiently, no recurrence and no side effects. I don't know how to beat that," Mazar said.

The Zika Virus treatment for cancers will only work in children, as the CD24 protein is only found in developing kids.

Neuroblastoma typically occurs in children under the age of five, and more than half don't respond to chemo or radiation.

The team will continue more studies to see if the treatment is safe and then hopefully move on to human clinical trials.

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