Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Were Zoo Workers Infected with Cancer-causing Animal Virus?


Evidence of exposure to a monkey virus possibly related to cancer has been found in the blood of North American zoo workers, according to a study in the December 15 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available online. The virus, a polyomavirus known as simian virus 40 (SV40), has long been a subject of public health concern, in part because it has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals, and some investigators have reported SV40 DNA in human tumors.

The authors, Eric A. Engels and coworkers at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, studied 254 zoo workers, 109 of whom handled primates extensively and the remainder not at all. An antibody assay showed that SV40 reactivity was more common among primate workers (23 percent) than among the other workers (10 percent). These low rates, which suggested absence of ongoing SV40 replication, contrasted with assay results showing 85 percent and 56 percent reactivity, respectively, for two other polyomaviruses, BK and JC, which are highly prevalent in humans and establish lifelong infection.

When the investigators used particles of SV40, BK, and JC to evaluate whether SV40-positive reactions were specific or represented cross-reacting antibody responses, only 14 of 29 subjects demonstrated specific reactivity. Engels and coworkers commented that this suggested that much of their SV40-positive results were probably due to BK or JC virus cross-reactivity.

The investigators cautioned that there is as yet no definitive evidence that SV40 can persistently infect humans, and that the health consequences of SV40 exposure, including the risk of cancer, are still unknown. Nevertheless, they concluded that their study "suggests that individuals who work closely with nonhuman primates are occupationally exposed to SV40," and that further studies of the issues involved are needed.

In an accompanying editorial, Keerti Shah of The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, commented that, "although humans in contact with primates may become infected with SV40, currently available evidence does not suggest that SV40 circulates independently in the community or that it contributes to the development of any human cancer." Because of uncertainties in the evidence, however, he recommended further studies, including closer study of those exposed to primates, "that investigate the ’full signature’ of SV40 infection" like genomic sequences, transcripts, antibodies, T cell response, and so on.

Steve Baragona | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

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: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>