Researchers have identified a virus that targets and kills a type of brain tumor.
A strain of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) can successfully target and kill glioblastoma, which is one of the deadliest forms of brain tumors. Glioblastoma is a form of brain tumor that is resistant to modern medical or surgical procedures.
Researchers of Yale School of Medicine had taken nine different DNA and RNA viruses through a series of tests to find out the one which is most effective at killing tumor cells. The successful viruses were cultivated for many generations on brain tumor cells, cloned to have more tumor killing capacities, and capacities lessened to infect non-tumor cells.
The scientists found the VSV strain that can be replicated through their genetic code carried in their RNA. The genetically muted VSV strain had also been created that it cannot replicate itself while affecting the brain tumor cells.
Researchers feel that non-replication may only lead to a few tumor cells being killed. Hence more research is required to make the virus affect the brain tumor cells, replicate itself and kill more tumor cells in the surroundings.
The study was published in the current issue of Journal of Virology.
Reference: Yale School of Medicine, news release, May 2005