A Zika vaccine was used to target and kill the deadly glioblastoma brain cancer in a study on mice conducted by the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.
"These findings represent major progress toward developing the Zika vaccine as a safe and effective virotherapeutic treatment for human glioblastoma," UTMB's Pei-Yong Shi said in a news release.
The Zika virus is known to severely hamper brain develop, causing microcephaly in infants born to mothers infected with the virus, while glioblastoma multiplies brain cells into cancerous tumors. Glioblastoma, the deadliest and most common brain tumor, killed Sen. John McCain, Sen. Ted Kennedy and the former vice president’s son, Beau Biden.
"This could be a great example of science's ability to turn something bad into something useful," Shi told the Houston Chronicle.
The vaccine is set to be tested in Brazil to prevent Zika. UTMB researchers determined that glioblastomas in mice developed slower in those that were injected with the vaccine. Researchers hope the vaccine will ultimately trigger the immune system to fight glioblastomas, according to the Chronicle.
Doctors at MD Anderson Cancer Center and Houston Methodist Hospital are using a similar immune reaction strategy with other viruses to fight brain cancer, the newspaper said.
Shi led the study in partnership with tumor biologist Jianghong Man of the National Center of Biomedical Analysis in Beijing and virologist Cheng-Feng Qin of the Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing.
A potential future application would be to give the vaccine at the same time as surgery to "let the viruses hunt down the (glioblastoma stem cells) and eliminate them," Qin said in a statement.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.