Scientific discoveries are no minor feat. It takes years of hard work, dedication, patience, perseverance, inquisitiveness (research), sleepless nights, and time-consuming to achieve a major breakthrough in the field of scientific research. A remarkable breakthrough in this regard was the use of Zika virus vaccines (currently under development) to obliterate glioblastoma in lab mice.
WHAT IS ZIKA (VIRUS)?
Zika according to Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary (7th edition) is defined as a virus (family Flaviviridae) spread by day-time mosquitoes; causes Zika fever with mild symptoms, but can pass from mother to foetus resulting in birth defects especially in the brain. Over two year ago, the fear of this disease was the focal point of most Americans, which affected them in hundreds of thousands, but the story is different today, because the sharp-drop in its harmful effects to the human brain has been curtailed by intense scientific breakthroughs.
WHAT IS GLIOBLASTOMA?
Glioblastoma on the other hand, is a fast-growing malignant brain tumor composed of spongioblasts; nearly always fatal. It is a form of brain cancer with extremely aggressive nature, which eliminates most of its patients within a period fewer than 2 years. This form of cancer is attributed to the death of late Senator John McCain. Very few of its patients exceed the 2 years limit and even when the do, coupled with numerous surgeries, accompanied by high doses of chemotherapy and radiations, glioblastoma makes a remarkable return by hiding its stem cells underneath healthy brain tissues.
ZIKA VIRUS VACCINE OBLITERATES GLIOBLASTOMA IN MICE
Not to worry, Zika virus, which was once a major health threat to humanity has proven to be useful in the fight against glioblastoma. According to scientific findings published in journal titled ‘MBio’, a research team, which comprises of researchers from China and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, were able to successfully obliterate glioblastoma using Zika virus vaccine (currently under development). This test was conducted by the research team on a lab mice with no immune system in place, which was injected with one of the two types of glioblastoma tumor lines retrieved from host (human patients). After the administration of the Zika virus vaccines on the mice, the results following were encouraging, which indicates reduction in tumor’s total growth, elimination of only cancerous brain stem cells from both tumor lines, no sign of infection, no brain damage, no behavioral troubles and an increase in the life-span of the infected mice by 18-22 days. Though the result is encouraging, but there might be slight variations when applying it to a human test subject due to the fact that this research was conducted in the absence of an active immune system. This supports the words of Sloan, who stated that “Is that if you activate the immune system too strong, there can be inflammatory effects that damage or kill the patient.”
Finally, the scientific breakthrough over glioblastoma achieved by a team of hardworking researchers leaves the world without a doubt that subsequent improvement on this major medical feat will in the future eliminate completely this deadly disease, and also eliminate the pain of losing the lives of individuals affected by this form of cancer.
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