Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetic Findings In Monkey Herpes Virus Could Aid Research In Human Cancer

Date:
October 1, 2002
Source:
University Of North Carolina School Of Medicine
Summary:
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.

CHAPEL HILL - 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.

Related Articles


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."

Along with Damania, co-authors of the report are Scott M. DeWire, a graduate student in UNC's curriculum in genetics and molecular biology; and Dr. Michael A. McVoy at the Medical College of Virginia.

Support for the research came from the National Cancer Institute, the UNC Center for AIDS Research and the American Heart Association.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of North Carolina School Of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of North Carolina School Of Medicine. "Genetic Findings In Monkey Herpes Virus Could Aid Research In Human Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021001035531.htm>.
University Of North Carolina School Of Medicine. (2002, October 1). Genetic Findings In Monkey Herpes Virus Could Aid Research In Human Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021001035531.htm
University Of North Carolina School Of Medicine. "Genetic Findings In Monkey Herpes Virus Could Aid Research In Human Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021001035531.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins