Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetic findings in monkey herpes virus could aid research in human cancer

01.10.2002


For the first time, scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have discovered similar gene activity profiles between a herpes virus that affects rhesus macaque monkeys and a human herpes virus linked to Kaposi’s sarcoma. This cancer is endemic among Mediterranean and sub-Sahara African populations. In the last 20 years, however, the disease has occurred most frequently in people with AIDS.



The study team, led by Dr. Blossom Damania, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at UNC School of Medicine and a member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, also has identified three new genes in the rhesus monkey rhadinovirus that show high structural similarity to those in human herpesvirus-8, also known as Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus, or KSHV.

The new research, which appears in the Journal of Virology on Tuesday (Oct 1), lays the foundation for future studies using recombinant rhesus viruses that could eventually form the basis of targeted drug therapies against specific KSHV genes.


Researchers in microbial genetics use recombinant technology to study the effect of altered genes on the life cycle of viruses linked to human disease. These studies require large quantities of virus grown in tissue culture, which is a problem with the human virus, KSHV, because it cannot be cultured efficiently.

Damania said the simian virus can grow to very high titers in tissue culture and then grown in large quantities. These can be used in making recombinant viruses for testing in a rhesus macaque model.

"By developing this model, we can determine the genes that are important for virus survival, viral growth and replication, and genes that enable the virus to induce malignancies in its host. Once you’ve established the genes that are required to do all of these things, you can start thinking about developing drug therapies against these genes to prevent virus spread and to prevent the virus from inducing cancer in its host. So there is potential for developing at least two drug therapies at this point in time."

The scientific literature suggests that less than 10 percent of people in the Western Hemisphere are infected with KSHV; however, these percentages are currently under investigation. But around the Mediterranean, particularly Italy, Spain, Egypt and Greece, the percentage is between 25 percent and 40 percent.

And then there is sub-Saharan Africa, where the infected population is greater than 50 percent, Damania said. "The problem is very bad because of the HIV epidemic," Damania added. "It’s known that immune suppression is a factor. Whether you’re HIV-infected or a transplant patient taking immunosuppressive drugs or a patient undergoing chemotherapy, you are more likely to develop Kaposi’s sarcoma. In sub-Saharan Africa, many children 6 years of age develop Kaposi’s with very bad lesions. It’s the number one childhood cancer in this region primarily as a result of widespread HIV infection in the area."

KSHV is also associated with B-cell lymphomas, a type of blood cancer. "Although Kaposi’s sarcoma is the most common cancer linked to KSHV, many individuals frequently develop B-cell lymphomas, as well," Damania said.

"At the present time, most herpes viruses cannot be cured but their outbreak can be prevented. And so the best we can hope for at this point in time is an effective preventive strategy rather than a cure. Our research will help move us toward identifying potentially better therapies."

Leslie Lang | EurekAlert!

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

nachricht Study advances gene therapy for glaucoma
17.01.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | 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

 
Latest News

More genes are active in high-performance maize

19.01.2018 | Life Sciences

How plants see light

19.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>