As we all learned from watching I Am Legend, scientists are now using virus shells (the hard and pointy outside of a virus that you see here) to deliver gene-tinkering drugs to your body as swiftly as possible. Virus shells are the perfect delivery system because the little bugs are designed to latch onto your cells and inject stuff into them. Bad viruses deliver genome-disturbing disease; good ones can deliver life-saving drugs. Now a rabies virus shell is being used to deliver tumor-destroying drugs to the brain.
In the case of this new study, published recently in Nature, scientists were able to deliver tiny snippets of RNA to brain cells that "interfered" with genes that were malfunctioning and forming tumors. Virus shell drug delivery is particularly cool because the shells can go beyond the blood-brain barrier right into the cell. Most conventional drugs rely on blood vessels to get to the right spot, which is a problem if you're trying to reach an area that isn't easily accessed by blood vessels, or is only served by extremely tiny ones that may not be big enough to admit drug molecules.
Using rabies to deliver drugs to the brain [BoingBoing]