|Herpes Linked To
|Viruses Cause Most
|JC Polyoma Virus
|Does the Cervical-Cancer
|Oral sex and
|Mouse Virus Linked
|Rising Incidence of
Renal Cell Cancer in the
Spread by sex
Men & Women
|Rare Virus Tied to
|Cancer cells divide in an uncontrolled way . Scientists have
discovered how the notorious Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) makes
some people vulnerable to developing cancer. Around 90% of
British adults are infected with EBV - but most come to no harm.
However, in a small minority of cases the virus helps to trigger
We should eventually put ourselves in a position where we have
improved treatments for viral cancers and perhaps effective
methods of prevention. EBV has been linked to Hodgkin's
disease, Burkitt's lymphoma, and nasopharyngeal cancer, as well
as certain rare cancers in immunosupressed transplant patients.
Now scientists from Cancer Research UK's Paterson Institute
have discovered how the virus acts to increase the risk that cells
will divide in the uncontrolled fashion typical of cancer. They
hope the advance could lead to ways of protecting people from
the effects of infection or treating patients with EBV-related
The researchers focused on a gene called p16 which acts as a
brake on cell growth and division. It was already known that
EBV was able to inactivate the p16 braking system - but the way
it did this was a mystery. In the new study, the researchers tested
the effects of EBV in human cells called fibroblasts. They found
that the key was a molecule produced by the virus, known as
This molecule neutralises the p16 system, either by switching it
off, or sabotaging its effectiveness. This leaves cells free to
divide in an uncontrolled way, raising the risk of cancer. The
researchers believe LMP1 may also have other, as yet
undiscovered, effects that could also contribute to the
development of cancer.
Lead researcher Dr Eiji Hara said: "Epstein-Barr Virus has a
number of different cancer-promoting effects and it's important
that we get to the bottom of how it works, so we may be able to
find ways of treating or protecting people.
"We think we've found the virus's central cancer trigger, but
we've still got a way to go in understanding exactly how the
trigger works - it looks as if it may have a few more tricks up its
Professor Robert Souhami, director of clinical research for
Cancer Research UK, said: "Around 15-20% of all cancers are
caused by viruses, so it's vital that we get a better handle on the
role of viral infection.
"By teasing out the details, we should eventually put ourselves in
a position where we have improved treatments for viral cancers
and perhaps effective methods of prevention."
The research is published in the Journal of Cell Biology.
|CAUSED BY HEPATITIS
B AND C VIRUS