AIDS: Clues To Virus-cancer Link Uncovered

ScienceDaily (June 18, 2009) — In a series of recently-published articles, a research team from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center has uncovered clues to the development of cancers in AIDS patients.  The first article published in April in PLoS Pathogens demonstrated that the Kaposi sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is not only present in every tumor cell, but that the cells also transcribe microRNAs (miRNA) from the virus.   The second study was published June 4 in the journal Blood looked at the activity of several miRNAs known to suppress tumor activity.   Finding the mechanisms through which viruses take over cellular systems, resulting in cancer, is a promising strategy for cancer prevention and treatment, since it is much more feasible to block viral infection or develop specific inhibitors of the viral genes than try to inhibit all of the genetic changes within a cancer.