Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers find first evidence of virus in malignant prostate cells

09.09.2009
XMRV retrovirus is associated with more aggressive tumors

In a finding with potentially major implications for identifying a viral cause of prostate cancer, researchers at the University of Utah and Columbia University medical schools have reported that a type of virus known to cause leukemia and sarcomas in animals has been found for the first time in malignant human prostate cancer cells.

If further investigation proves the virus, XMRV (Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus), causes prostate cancer in people, it would open opportunities for developing diagnostic tests, vaccines, and therapies for treating the cancer, according to the study published Sept. 7 online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Prostate cancer is expected to strike nearly 200,000 U.S. males this year, making it the second most common form of cancer, outside of skin cancers, among men.

"We found that XMRV was present in 27 percent of prostate cancers we examined and that it was associated with more aggressive tumors," said Ila R. Singh, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pathology at University of Utah and the study's senior author. "We still don't know that this virus causes cancer in people, but that is an important question we're going to investigate."

Singh, also a member of the U of U's Huntsman Cancer Institute and associate medical director at ARUP Laboratories, moved to Utah from Columbia University Medical Center in 2008, where she began this research. She remains an adjunct faculty member at Columbia.

Along with providing the first proof that XMRV is present in malignant cells, the study also confirmed that XMRV is a gammaretrovirus, a simple retrovirus first isolated from prostate cancers in 2006 by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and the Cleveland Clinic. Gammaretroviruses are known to cause cancer in animals, but have not been shown to do so in humans. The UCSF study did not examine benign (non-malignant) prostate tissues, so could not link XMRV to prostate cancer. They also did not find the virus in malignant cells.

Singh and her fellow researchers examined more than 200 human prostate cancers, and compared them to more than 100 non-cancerous prostate tissues. They found 27 percent of the cancers contained XMRV, compared to only 6 percent of the benign tissues. The viral proteins were found almost exclusively in malignant prostatic cells, suggesting that XMRV infection may be directly linked to the formation of tumors.

Retroviruses insert a DNA copy of their genome into the chromosomes of the cells they infect. Such an insertion sometimes occurs adjacent to a gene that regulates cell growth, disrupting normal cell growth, resulting in more rapid proliferation of such a cell, which eventually develops into a cancer. This mechanism of carcinogenesis is followed by gammaretroviruses in general. Singh is currently examining if a similar mechanism might be involved with XMRV and prostate cancer.

In another important finding of the study, Singh and her colleagues also showed that susceptibility to XMRV infection is not enhanced by a genetic mutation, as was previously reported. If XMRV were caused by the mutation, only the 10 percent of the population who carry the mutated gene would be at risk for infection with virus. But Singh found no connection between XMRV and the mutation, meaning the risk for infection may extend to the population at large.

While the study answers important questions about XMRV, it also raises a number of other questions, such as whether the virus infects women, is sexually transmitted, how prevalent it is in the general population, and whether it causes cancers in tissues other than the prostate.

"We have many questions right now," Singh said, "and we believe this merits further investigation."

Viruses have been shown to cause cancer of the cervix, connective tissues (sarcomas), immune system (lymphoma), and other organs. If the retrovirus is shown to cause prostate cancer, this could have important implications for preventing viral transmission and for developing vaccines to prevent XMRV infection in people.

Phil Sahm | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utah.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility
14.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

nachricht Guardians of the Gate
14.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>