Ebola gene may help hunt cancer cells that slipped away during glioblastoma surgery

According tomedia reports, glioblastoma is a very invasive brain tumor, its treatment difficulty is notoriously high, the cancer cells often slide from the main lump into the brain, resulting in a high recurrence rate of tumors. To find more effective treatments, scientists are looking at how certain viruses can better eliminate the threat by destroying cells.

Ebola gene may help hunt cancer cells that slipped away during glioblastoma surgery

A team from Yale University has come up with an exciting breakthrough in the field of a promising new treatment for the Ebola virus that has been shown to kill glioblastoma in laboratory mice.

It is understood that the standard treatment for glioblastoma patients is to surgically remove the tumor, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy to kill all remaining cancer cells. The problem is that these snuck cells often escape into brain tissue and hide there, quickly creating new tumors that are still fatal.

The latest treatment may sound counterintuitive, but a virus that can often cause a dangerous infection in the human body may help find tiny traces of the remaining cells. For more than half a century, scientists have been trying to design viruses that are targeted and kill cancer cells. A 2017 study showed that the Zika virus could be used to attack glioblastoma.

The logic behind this approach is to develop the response of cancer cells to external threats, and when pathogens or other intruders attack the human body, normal healthy cells trigger an immune response to defend against this, which most cancer cells cannot do. Therefore, attacking cancer cells with a virus can exploit this weakness and keep healthy cells largely undamaged.

The Ebola virus is a particularly promising candidate virus. Led by Anthony N. Van den Pol, a professor of neurosurgery, the Yale team has been studying the composition of the virus, hoping to make better use of some of its powerful tools. In the process, they found a single gene with two desirable properties that can help the virus evade the body’s immune response (so that it can do its job effectively) and play a role in the virus’s lethality (so that it can attack cancer cells).

Scientists have transformed the gene into a chimeric virus that makes up a combination of genes from multiple viruses. The chimeric virus was injected into the brains of mice with glioblastoma, and the team found that genes extracted from the Ebola virus allowed it to selectively target and destroy brain tumours.

Van den Pol said that with further research, the virus is expected to be able to be combined with surgery one day to reduce the rate of cancer recurrence. “Ironically, one of the world’s deadliest viruses may be useful in treating one of the deadliest brain cancers. “

The study was published in Journal of Virology.