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Using Zika For Good: Florida Doctors Use It To Kill Deadly Neuroblastoma

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Flickr Creative Commons
The Florida Channel
Zika could be used to target brain tumor cells in children.

A new treatment with the Zika virus might be able to target tumor cells in one of the deadliest childhood cancers. 

Kenneth Alexander, a doctor with Nemours Children's Hospital, says it could work as a treatment for neuroblastoma by attacking growing cancer cells, and leaving other more developed cells alone.

“This is exciting because the name definitely engenders anxiety but people need to be reminded that it’s only a big deal if you’re pregnant," Alexander said. "For 80 percent of people the virus doesn’t cause any symptoms at all. For 20 percent of people who do, the symptoms are mild.”

The treatment still needs to pass trials in human and animal subjects, but shows promise killing tumor cells in labs after about seven to ten days.