Scientists to Test Whether Zika Can Kill Brain Cancer Cells

Dr Iain Foulkes, director of research and innovation at Cancer Research UK, said: “We urgently need new insights and treatments to tackle glioblastomas, one of the most common and hard to treat forms of brain tumours”. Microcephaly is one of the conditions caused by Zika virus and it is characterized by a small skull and an underdeveloped brain.

One virus proved to be dominant and outcompeted the others in the midgut of the mosquito where the infections establish and replicate before being transmitted to humans. Also, another team reported that Aedes albopictus, another species that can transmit Zika and other diseases, has become established and are spreading in CT, which had been considered the northern part of it range.

Professor Khromykh, Professor Suhrbier and QIMR Berghofer’s Associate Professor Greg Devine have a record of developing diagnostic tests, antiviral drugs and vaccines against other mosquito-borne diseases, including dengue, West Nile and chikungunya viruses.

Also, coinfections might be underdiagnosed, she said. Thirty percent of women said they would likely keep it a secret if they were diagnosed with the virus.

“Finding new ways to treat brain tumours to help more people survive the disease is a priority for Cancer Research UK”.

“When these mosquitoes get infected with two or three different viruses, there’s nearly no effect that the viruses have on each other in the same mosquito”, Ruckert said.

Dengue and chikungunya virus symptoms are similar to an infection with Zika virus, and can also include joint and bone pain, nose or gum bleeding and bruising. “It could definitely lead to misinterpretation of disease severity”.

They examined genetic sequences from clinical isolates from the outbreak in the Americas, comparing them with those of an Asian-lineage Zika strain isolated in Cambodia in 2010.

“This was the first time Zika virus was made directly from a viral sequence detected in infected tissue, without the need to import the infectious virus”, Professor Khromykh said.

The results showed that the spontaneous mutation promoted both Zika infectivity and prevalence in the mosquitoes, which could have enhanced transmission during the recent outbreaks in the Americas.

A Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito is seen on the skin of a human host in this 2014 picture from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study authors said the species was first detected in an isolated finding in CT in 2006, not appearing again until 2010. The results of the experiments will suggest how the virus is targeting the cells and if the testing can be progressed to a more complex stage.