Could Ebola help fight brain cancer?

Could Ebola help fight brain cancer?

Scientists at Yale have used the Ebola virus to target brain cancer cells

The Ebola virus attacks organs but does not attack the nervous system. It is not a ‘Corona Virus’. Although both jump from animals to human hosts, Ebola is not airborne and causes hemorrhaging, while coronaviruses can be spread by inhaling the same air as a patient and attack the respiratory system. The incubation period for a coronavirus is also much longer.

Unlike healthy cells, a large proportion of cancer cells cannot produce an immune response against viruses and this weakness has spawned a whole potential area of cancer treatment called virotherapy.

Because Ebola is so dangerous, Professor of Neurology at Yale, Anthony van den Pol decided to create a chimeric virus – a chimera is where you take pieces of DNA from different viruses and combine them, and this new virus can reproduce.

There are seven genes that protect Ebola virus from the host’s immune system. With one, Ebola has a ‘mucin-like domain’, MLD, which shields its Glycoprotein from host
antibodies. Van den Pol took this gene into a chimera.

When they used it on mice with Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), the MLD selectively attacked the cancer cells as if they were host immune attack cells. Not all were killed at the outset, but more were killed each day. Slowly but surely all the GBM cells in the brains were killed. The team published photographs showing this (1).

To recap, the team did not use the Ebola virus, just the gene that makes MLD, which attacked cancer cells. The glycoprotein MLD chimera also replicates far less rapidly that the Ebola virus.

Go to: Alternative Brain cancer treatments that worked?

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Reference

  1. https://jvi.asm.org/content/early/2020/02/06/JVI.01967-19
2020 Research
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