Immunity to a cancer in chickens could shed light on ways to control certain human cancers according to scientists from the Institute for Animal Health (IAH). Their work on Marek’s disease (MD) in chickens has identified the first natural model for specific Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, and is published this week in PNAS (06-10 September 2004).
Marek’s disease virus (MDV) shares many biological properties with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) – a major cause of Hodgkin’s disease. Infection with these herpesviruses can lead to lymphoma formation, which is closely linked with the over-production of a cell-surface molecule called CD30.
“For the first time we have detected the presence of specific antibodies against CD30 after MDV infection in MD-resistant chickens,” says lead researcher Dr Shane Burgess, now at Mississippi State University, USA. “The presence of CD30-specific antibodies suggests anti-tumour immunity may exist in Marek’s disease, and perhaps also in some Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients.”
Tracey Duncombe | alfa
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