New study has implications for treating and preventing cancers caused by viruses

New research from the Trudeau Institute addresses how the human body controls gamma-herpesviruses, a class of viruses thought to cause a variety of cancers. The study, carried out in the laboratory of Dr. Marcia Blackman, awaits publication in The Journal of Immunology. Led by postdoctoral fellow Mike Freeman, with assistance from other laboratory colleagues, the study describes the role of white blood cells in controlling gamma-herpesvirus infections and has implications for the treatment and prevention of certain cancers.

One of the many factors that can contribute to the development of cancer is infection with cancer-causing viruses, among them gamma-herpesviruses like the and Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. With more than 95 percent of the infected with one or both of these viruses, it is important to understand their infection cycles and how immune responses keep them in check in the majority of individuals.

Gamma-herpesvirus infections are characterized by two distinct phases. In the initial, active phase, the immune system responds by attacking the virus. The virus, however, has developed a clever mechanism for "sneaking" past the to conceal itself within the body, a process researchers refer to as latent infection. While in hiding, the virus persists in a quiet, inactive state. Occasionally, it can start to reactivate and begin to multiply again, increasing the risk of .

The chance that cancer will develop is greatly increased if the immune system is weakened, such as with immunosuppression following transplantation or as a consequence of other diseases, such as AIDS.

Researchers around the globe are asking important questions about the nature of these viruses and working in their labs to answer them. Among those questions: How do the viruses escape the immune response to establish lifelong latency? What triggers their reactivation in some people? Can we develop therapies to control reactivation and prevent the development of cancer?

The key finding of the Blackman study is that the mechanism by which a type of white blood cell, called a CD8 T cell, controls the virus differs between the initial active phase of infection and long-term latent infection. These novel findings will accelerate efforts to develop therapies to control gamma-herpesvirus infections and prevent the development of virus-associated cancers.

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ironjustice
not rated yet Mar 13, 2012
Quote: How do the viruses escape the immune response to establish lifelong latency?
Answer: The body produces a substance which stops virus' at the epidermis. Lactoferrin.
"Lactoferrin probably exerts its effect at the level of viral adsorption"
Lactoferrin removes iron , a requirement of virus , bacteria , fungi and thereby disallowing the virus to establish itself in the body.
"Antimicrobial and antiinflammatory effect of lactoferrin by chelation of iron"
When lactoferrin is partially saturated , its ability to stop the invasion is diminished greatly.
"Low iron-saturated LF effectively combats bacteria and fungi, acting in a bacteriostatic and fungistatic way. The degree of iron saturation also influences antiviral activity of LF. "
When the body has too much iron the lactoferrin becomes saturated and cannot stop the invader at the door .
ironjustice
not rated yet Mar 13, 2012
Quote: How do the viruses escape the immune response to establish lifelong latency?
Answer: The body produces a substance which stops virus' at the epidermis. Lactoferrin.
"Lactoferrin probably exerts its effect at the level of viral adsorption"
Lactoferrin removes iron , a requirement of virus , bacteria , fungi and thereby disallowing the virus to establish itself in the body.
"Antimicrobial and antiinflammatory effect of lactoferrin by chelation of iron"
When lactoferrin is partially saturated , its ability to stop the invasion is diminished greatly.
"Low iron-saturated LF effectively combats bacteria and fungi, acting in a bacteriostatic and fungistatic way. The degree of iron saturation also influences antiviral activity of LF. "
When the body has too much iron the lactoferrin becomes saturated and cannot stop the invader at the door .
ironjustice
not rated yet Mar 13, 2012
Quote: What triggers their reactivation in some people?
Answer: High enough iron levels in the body to allow the virus' to access the iron.
"The degree of iron saturation also influences antiviral activity of LF"

Quote: Can we develop therapies to control reactivation and prevent the development of cancer ?
Answer: It has been shown in hepatitis when placed on an iron reduction treatment of phlebotomy and low-iron diet the results are a very high recovery rate and prevention of carcinoma.
"Normalization of Elevated Hepatic 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine Levels in Chronic Hepatitis C Patients by Phlebotomy and Low Iron Diet"
"None of these patients developed hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)."
"long-term iron reduction therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C may potentially lower the risk of progression to HCC"

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