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Pitt cancer researchers find key oncoprotein in Merkel cell carcinoma
Date:8/15/2011

ated studies recently published by the team in Emerging Infectious Diseases, MCV was shown to normally infect four out of five healthy adults, where it remains a silent resident in skin cells without causing any symptoms. Only when specific mutations occur in the DNA of the virus―for example, by ultraviolet light exposure―does it have potential to cause cancer. The researchers are now working to identify new agents to target MCC cancer cells that may be more active and less toxic.

MCV is the first virus in the family of polyomaviruses shown to cause human cancer, but six other polyomaviruses have recently been discovered as inapparent infections of people, and scientists are actively seeking to find out if they are additional, cancer-causing viruses as well. MCV is the second human cancer virus found by the Chang-Moore laboratory, which previously also discovered the virus causing Kaposi's sarcoma the most common cancer among AIDS patients.


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Contact: Anita Srikameswaran
SrikamAV@upmc.edu
412-578-9193
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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