Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A possible cause – and cure – for genital cancer in horses?

Date:
December 20, 2010
Source:
Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Summary:
The problem of cervical cancer in humans has been considerably reduced by the development of an efficient and cheap vaccine. Horses also suffer from genital cancer but surprisingly we are only now taking the first steps towards learning what causes the disease.New work provides strong evidence that a novel papillomavirus is involved and may thus pave the way for the development of a cure.

The problem of cervical cancer in humans has been considerably reduced by the development of an efficient and cheap vaccine. Horses also suffer from genital cancer but surprisingly we are only now taking the first steps towards learning what causes the disease.

Work by Sabine Brandt and colleagues at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna -- together with the British pathologist Tim Scase and with Alastair Foote and his group from Rossdale's Equine Hospital and Diagnostic Centre in Newmarket -- provides strong evidence that a novel papillomavirus is involved and may thus pave the way for the development of a cure. The initial results are published in the current issue of the Equine Veterinary Journal.

Horses are prone to develop genital cancer, especially as they grow older. Male horses are more commonly affected than mares but both sexes suffer from the condition, which is extremely difficult to treat and may result in the animals' death. Because of the similarity of the disease to human genital cancer it seemed possible that a similar agent might be responsible. Several human genital cancers, including cervical tumours, are known to be caused by a papillomavirus infection, so Brandt and her coworkers used genetic techniques to look for papillomavirus DNA in tissue samples from horses bearing genital squamous cell carcinomas (SCC).

Brandt freely concedes that the experiment has the feel of a "magic bullet," although the researchers did have good reasons to suspect the involvement of a virus. Nevertheless, it was extremely satisfying when their hunch proved correct and they succeeded in identifying a novel type of papillomavirus, which they have named Equus caballus papillomavirus-2 (EcPV-2). EcPV-2 DNA was found in all the genital SCC samples from affected horses in Austria and, independently, in nearly all the samples from such horses in the UK (a single exception may stem from experimental difficulties). The virus has not been detected in any samples from horses without tumours or with other types of cancer.

The scientists have succeeded in isolating and sequencing the entire genome of EcPV-2. Interestingly, the sequence shows that the novel virus is closely related to the two viruses known to be responsible for the majority of genital cancers in humans. This lends further weight to the idea that EcPV-2 might be involved in causing disease in horses.

Taken together, the results provide a strong indication that EcPV-2 causes genital cancer in horses. A final proof would require the demonstration that infecting mucous membranes with the virus eventually leads to the development of cancer and experiments of this kind have -- understandably -- not yet been performed. There is also a need for further studies to examine the frequency of the virus in horse populations. But the initial evidence already seems sufficiently cogent to justify attempts to prepare a vaccine. Perhaps the work of Brandt and her collaborators may soon lead to the development of preventative measures so that horses -- like humans -- no longer have to suffer from this debilitating and ultimately life-threatening disease.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T. Scase, S. Brandt, C. Kainzbauer, S. Sykora, S. Bijmholt, K. Hughes, S. Sharpe, A. Foote. Equus caballus papillomavirus-2 (EcPV-2): An infectious cause for equine genital cancer? Equine Veterinary Journal, 2010; 42 (8): 738 DOI: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2010.00311.x

Cite This Page:

Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien. "A possible cause – and cure – for genital cancer in horses?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101220084202.htm>.
Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien. (2010, December 20). A possible cause – and cure – for genital cancer in horses?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101220084202.htm
Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien. "A possible cause – and cure – for genital cancer in horses?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101220084202.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) — It took Houston firefighters more than an hour to free a puppy who got its head stuck in a tire. (Aug. 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) — A study published in the journal "Neurology" interviewed more than 19,000 people and found 15 percent suffer from being "sleep drunk." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Great White Shark Spotted Off Massachusetts Coast

Great White Shark Spotted Off Massachusetts Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) — A great white shark is spotted off the shore at Duxbury beach in Massachusetts forcing beach goers out of the water. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elk Wanders Into German Office Building

Raw: Elk Wanders Into German Office Building

AP (Aug. 25, 2014) — A young bull elk wandered inside the office building of a company in Dresden, Germany on Monday. The elk became trapped between a wall and glass windows while rescue workers tried to rescue him safely. (Aug. 25) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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