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 Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>