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Treatment of common virus can reduce tumour growth
Date:9/27/2011

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to inhibit the growth of brain tumours by treating the common Cytomegalovirus (CMV). The virus, which is found in a wide range of tumour types, offers a possible route towards controlling tumour growth and reducing the size of the tumour as a complement to conventional cytotoxin-based therapies.

The CMV is a common virus that is found in 70-75 per cent of the adult population. Normally it is dormant and goes unnoticed, but when a cancer develops in the body, the virus seems to control many of the mechanisms in the cancer cells. Brain tumours, breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer are some of the cancer forms in which CMV may play a central role. By studying medullablastomas, the most common form of childhood brain tumour, researchers at Karolinska Institutet have been able to show for the first time the presence of CMV in these tumours and that treatment for CMV can reduce tumour growth.

"We show in this study that CMV is found in 92 per cent of tumours from medullablastoma patients," says Professor Cecilia Sderberg-Nauclr. "We also show in experimental systems that we can inhibit the growth of these tumours with antiviral drugs, which opens up a new potential therapeutic approach to certain tumours in the future."

Earlier studies have shown that many forms of tumour also have a higher expression of the COX-2 enzyme, which is not found in normal tissue but which plays a key part in inflammations and the development of cancer. As regards tumours, it has previously been shown that for unknown reasons COX-2 is induced in tumour cells; a phenomenon often associated with poor prognoses. Further, the knowledge that COX-2 inhibitors reduce the risk of cancer has led to their use in clinical studies for cancer prevention. CMV in turn, greatly and specifically stimulates the synthesis of COX-2 and is thus a possible control signal
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Contact: Press Office
pressinfo@ki.se
46-852-486-077
Karolinska Institutet
Source:Eurekalert

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