Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First clinical evidence of anti-cancer drug triggering viral infection

Date:
April 19, 2010
Source:
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Summary:
A new study shows that a common cancer drug can activate a viral infection that, paradoxically, can help anti-viral medications eradicate virus-associated cancer.

Important advances in the fight against cancer have come as researchers proved that viruses and cancers interact in ways that were previously unknown to scientists.

A new study led by UNC scientists shows that a common cancer drug can activate a viral infection that, paradoxically, can help anti-viral medications eradicate virus-associated cancer.

The cooperative study, conducted by a team of UNC School of Medicine scientists and the UNC Project in Malawi, demonstrated for the first time in humans that a common drug used to treat Burkitt lymphoma can activate infection by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a virus which typically lies latent inside the tumor cells of affected patients. The finding paves the way for a future study using both a cancer drug and an antiviral agent to eradicate both the active virus infection and the tumor. The findings are reported in the April 1 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

Margaret Gulley, MD, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, said, "What we have learned from this work is a potential means of capitalizing on presence of viral genomes within tumor cells to alter those tumor cells in a way that makes them more susceptible to treatment. Our findings have implications for other EBV- related malignancies that, overall, are among the most common cancers worldwide." Gulley is a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

EBV infects more than 90 percent of the world's population and is associated with diseases ranging from infectious mononucleosis to lymphomas, gastric cancer and cancer of the nose and throat.

Burkitt lymphoma, which is associated with EBV, is rare in most parts of the world, but is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Burkitt lymphoma is an aggressive, fast-growing type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that often occurs in children. The disease may affect the jaw, bowel, lymph nodes, or other organs

The study demonstrated that initiating treatment with the anti-cancer drug cyclophosphamide in children with Burkitt lymphoma simultaneously triggered an active EBV infection. The increased replication of EBV in cancer tissue makes these cells more susceptible to the antiviral drugs that kill cells containing replicating virus. Antiviral agents such as ganciclovir and valacyclovir are already in routine clinical use for treating active viral infections.

Researchers enrolled 21 patients with a confirmed diagnosis of EBV-related Burkitt lymphoma. The patients ranged in age from 5-15 and were under treatment with cyclophosphamide for their cancer. Through laboratory analysis of biopsy samples, researchers found that cyclophosphamide seems to induce the phase of viral infection most susceptible to antiviral therapy.

"The next step," explains Gulley," is to design a clinical trial using both cytoxan and an antiviral agent simultaneously." Plans for such a trial are already underway under the leadership of Carol Shores, MD, PhD, associate professor of surgery in UNC's Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery and senior author of the study.

Other UNC scientists involved in the study are members of the departments of pathology, otolaryngology, and medicine/infectious disease division. Additional collaborators are affiliated with Kamuzu Central Hospital and the UNC Malawi Project, and Dr. Shannon Kenney who was Sarah Graham Kenan professor at UNC before joining the departments of medicine and oncology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.


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.


Journal Reference:

  1. W. Tang, P. Harmon, M. L. Gulley, C. Mwansambo, P. N. Kazembe, F. Martinson, C. Wokocha, S. C. Kenney, I. Hoffman, C. Sigel, S. Maygarden, M. Hoffman, C. Shores. Viral Response to Chemotherapy in Endemic Burkitt Lymphoma. Clinical Cancer Research, 2010; 16 (7): 2055 DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-2424

Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "First clinical evidence of anti-cancer drug triggering viral infection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100412151829.htm>.
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. (2010, April 19). First clinical evidence of anti-cancer drug triggering viral infection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100412151829.htm
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "First clinical evidence of anti-cancer drug triggering viral infection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100412151829.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
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