Scientists have discovered a new alliance to help them fight glioblastoma, a difficult-to-treat, deadly brain tumor. Scientists at Yale University have begun using the Ebola virus to help treat glioblastoma. The methods used by scientists took advantage of the weakness of most cancer tumors and The immune system’s defenses.
Unlike normal cells, scientists say, a large percentage of cancer cells do not produce an innate immune response to intruders such as viruses. This fact led cancer researchers to explore ways to fight cancer using viruses. The team says that by creating and testing the gene of the chimeric virus, which is a gene combination of multiple viruses, it can mitigate the negative effects of the virus.
These can target cancer cells without harming patients. One of the seven genes of the Ebola virus helps it avoid a immune system response, increasing the lethality of the virus. Scientists and other members of the research team used a chimeric virus that contains a gene from the Ebola virus, a glycoprotein with a sticky protein line (MLD). MLD is important because it plays a role in hiding the Ebola virus in the immune system.
After injecting the chimeric virus into the brains of glioblastoma mice, the team found that MLD helped selectively kill glioblastoma tumors. In particular, the team noted that it works with MLD glycoproteins rather than the complete Ebola virus. MLD seems to protect normal cells from infection, but not cancer cells. The team believes that MLD therapy can be used in conjunction with surgery to eliminate these tumors and prevent cancer recurrence.