Study suggests possible role for BK virus in prostate cancer
Chances are excellent that your urinary tract is home to a pathogenic organism called the human BK virus. Most of the time, the virus lurks quietly in the kidneys without causing problems. But in people with a depressed immune system — especially those who have just received a kidney transplant — the virus can cause serious kidney and bladder disease. Now, new research by scientists at the University of Michigan Medical School suggests the intriguing possibility that this common virus also may play a role in prostate cancer — the second-leading cause of deaths from cancer in American men.
A team of scientists directed by Michael J. Imperiale, Ph.D., U-M professor of microbiology and immunology, have found DNA and proteins from the BK virus in prostate tissue with abnormal cell changes. Called atrophic lesions, these changes can be the first step in a series of progressive cell changes leading to prostate cancer.
Sally Pobojewski | EurekAlert!
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