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UNC study offers first clinical evidence of anti-cancer drug triggering viral infection
Date:4/12/2010

nstrated that initiating treatment with the anti-cancer drug cyclophosphamide in children with Burkitt lymphoma simultaneously triggered an active EBV infection. The increased replication of EBV in cancer tissue makes these cells more susceptible to the antiviral drugs that kill cells containing replicating virus. Antiviral agents such as ganciclovir and valacyclovir are already in routine clinical use for treating active viral infections.

Researchers enrolled 21 patients with a confirmed diagnosis of EBV-related Burkitt lymphoma. The patients ranged in age from 5-15 and were under treatment with cyclophosphamide for their cancer. Through laboratory analysis of biopsy samples, researchers found that cyclophosphamide seems to induce the phase of viral infection most susceptible to antiviral therapy.

"The next step," explains Gulley," is to design a clinical trial using both cytoxan and an antiviral agent simultaneously." Plans for such a trial are already underway under the leadership of Carol Shores, MD, PhD, associate professor of surgery in UNC's Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery and senior author of the study.


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Contact: Dianne Shaw
dgs@med.unc.edu
919-966-5905
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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