Cell receptor could allow measles virus to target tumors

Canadian researchers have discovered that a tumor cell marker is a receptor for measles virus, suggesting the possible use of measles virus to help fight cancer. Their findings appear in the Open Access journal PLoS Pathogens on August 25th.

Viruses cause infection by attaching to specific proteins on cell surfaces called receptors. Dr. Chris Richardson of Dalhousie Medical School in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and colleagues found that the tumor cell marker, PVRL4 (Nectin 4), is a receptor for measles virus.

The PVRL4 receptor is found in airway cells, and measles virus infects tissue in the respiratory tract and lungs. Large amounts of PVRL4 are also present in many cancers that originate from cells of the lung, breast, colon, and ovaries.

The receptor was discovered by comparing the proteins made in virus-susceptible cancer cells to those present in cells resistant to the virus. Because PVRL4 is found in many types of human cancers, the measles virus could potentially be used to specifically infect cancer cells and turn the immune system against tumors.

The cancer killing properties of measles virus have previously been reported by researchers at the Mayo Clinic, but this is the first time that the virus has been shown to target a common receptor that is highly expressed on the surfaces of lung, breast, colon, and . The approach could be used to fight many different types of cancer.

Ongoing experiments are being performed to test the approach in mouse tumor models.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Viruses may play a role in lung cancer development

Apr 25, 2008

Papers presented at the 1st European Lung Cancer Conference, jointly organized by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) in Geneva, Switzerland ...

Researchers describe measles viral protein movement

Jan 09, 2011

Mayo Clinic researchers have shown that proteins on the surface of a cell twist a viral protein into position, allowing the virus to start infection and cause disease, all in a movement as graceful as a ballroom dance. The ...

Recommended for you

Putting the brakes on cancer

Dec 19, 2014

A study led by the University of Dundee, in collaboration with researchers at our University, has uncovered an important role played by a tumour suppressor gene, helping scientists to better understand how ...

Peanut component linked to cancer spread

Dec 19, 2014

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that a component of peanuts could encourage the spread and survival of cancer cells in the body.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.