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Zika virus kills brain cancer cells - study
The Zika virus, which is spread my mosquitoes, causes serious birth defects.
Findings may be used to treat fatal disease 

A study by US researchers has revealed that Zika virus can kill brain cancer stem cells - the type of cells that are most resistant to standard treatment.

Their findings, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, suggest that Zika virus - which causes serious birth defects in humans - could be directed at malignant cells in the brain.

Researchers say their findings have the potential to improve people’s chances against glioblastoma - the most common form of primary brain tumour in adults.

“We showed that Zika virus can kill the kind of glioblastoma cells that tend to be resistant to current treatments and lead to death,” explained co-author Michael Diamond, a professor of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine.

In the study, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine assessed if the virus could kill stem cells in glioblastomas removed from patients at diagnosis.

Their findings suggest that Zika infection and chemotherapy/radiotherapy compliment each other. While the standard treatment kills the majority of the tumour cells but often leads the stem cells intact, Zika virus attacks the stem cells but bypasses the greater part of the tumour.

“We see Zika one day being used in combination with current therapies to eradicate the whole tumour,” said Chheda, an assistant professor of medicine and neurology.

To see if Zika could be used to treat cancer in a living animal, the researchers injected either Zika virus or salt water (a placebo) into the brain tumours of mice. They found that tumours were markedly smaller in the Zika treated mice two weeks after injection, and those mice survived much longer than the ones injected with salt water.

Researchers say that if Zika virus was to be used in humans, it would have to be injected straight into the brain. If injected anywhere else in the body, the immune system would destroy it before it reaches the brain.

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Outreach work in Mongolia aims to learn about Pallasís cat

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is supporting work in Mongolia to help improve understanding of the Pallasís cat (Otocolobus manul). The society is working with local communities to raise awareness and learn more about how people interact with the cats. The aim is to gather knowledge on the species and the threats it faces, to inform global conservation efforts.  

News Shorts
New canine health awareness week launches

The Kennel Club has launched Canine Health Week (13-19 November) to raise awareness of the most common health issues in dogs. Canine Health Week is set to become an annual initiative to highlight resources, research and information to make a difference to dog health.

According to clinical veterinary data from VetCompass, the five most common health issues are ear canal disease, dental disease, anal sac impaction, overgrown nails and arthritis. It is hoped the awareness week will help to familiarise dog owners with common conditions, to better meet the healthcare needs of their dogs.