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 Kaposis 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 Kaposis 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.
Leslie Lang | EurekAlert!
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