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The human virome is collection of viruses inhabiting humans. This virome is important to study because these viruses can have important impacts on human health and disease. Next-generation sequencing, or NGS, analysis can reveal important differences between viromes.
A team led by Zihao Yuan used NGS to detect virome differences between brain samples from healthy people and and from brain tumors of people diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM. Glioblastoma is the most aggressive type of primary brain tumor — most patients die within 18 months of diagnosis, even with advanced and invasive treatment.
According to the new findings, unique characteristics of viromes in samples from GBM tumors point the way to potential new treatments. For instance, the researchers propose that a new virus found in GBM tumors could engineered to become oncolytic — capable of killing cancer cells. Other viral sequences contained structures that might be recognized by antibodies, which can also be used to kill cancer cells.