Skip navigation
Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Your Health

USC Researchers Find New Cancer-Causing Virus

The team ofUSC  researchers identified one of the viruses that causes a common kind of salivary gland cancer.

A team of USC researchers have linked cytomegalovirus with the most common kind of salivary gland cancer and possibly other cancers.  

CMV is what is known as an oncovirus, or cancer-causing virus.

Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC Professors Michael Melnick and Tina Jaskoll
Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC Professors Michael Melnick and Tina Jaskoll
 

There are fewer than ten oncoviruses that scientists have confirmed and linked to various kinds of cancer,  including HPV, which is now known to cause cervical cancer.

The findings were published in the online journal Experimental and Molecular Pathology

CMV can trigger cancer in healthy cells or act as a catalyst for tumor formation.  Exposure to CMV is especially dangerous for pregnant women, because it can cause birth defects. 

Michael Melnick, the lead author and professor of developmental genetics in USC's Ostrow School of Dentistry, said that no one knows what reactivates CMV.

"CMV is incredibly common; most of us likely carry it because of our exposure to it," Melnick said. "In healthy patients with normal immune systems, it becomes dormant and resides inactive in the salivary glands."

Other contributors to the study were Tina Jaskoll, professor of developmental genetics and co-director of the Laboratory for Developmental Genetics; Parish Sedghizadeh, director of the USC Center for Biofilms and associate professor of diagnostic sciences; and Carl Allen at The Ohio State University.

Researchers studied both human salivary gland tumors and the salivary glands of postnatal mice.  When they exposed the salivary glands of the mice to purified CMV, cancer developed.

The experiments also uncovered a specific molecular signaling pathway that the virus manipulates to create tumors. 

"Typically, this pathway is only active during embryonic growth and development," Melnick said. 

Salivary gland cancer is particulary severe because it is typically only caught in the later stages, Jaskoll said in the press release.

The researchers hope that their findings will lead to more discoveries of treatments and prevention methods. 

"This should be a most fruitful area of investigation for a long time to come," said Melnick. "This is just the tip of the iceberg with viruses."

 

RELATED:

Breast Cancer Awareness Half the Battle

Study: Fish Oil Slows Prostrate Cancer Growth

COMMENTS

[...] the complete article here. Read the original manuscript via Experimental and Molecular Pathology. [...]

good job guys.atleast that a powerful goahead.congrats.

Leave a comment
Name:
E-mail:*
URL:
Comments:*

Testimony Continues in Bolden Double Murder Trial


By Rebecca Gibian
10/22/14 | 1:28 p.m. PDT

L.A. prosecutors attempt to draw connections between Bolden's phone calls and the murder of two USC graduate students.

Metro Bus Shot Near USC


By Brooke Gignac
10/21/14 | 5:28 p.m. PDT

A bus was hit with gunfire a few blocks from USC Tuesday afternoon.

Farmworkers Protest in Downtown L.A.

USC Good Neighbors Funds New Literacy Program At Nearby School

Trojan Marching Band Ranked No. 1 in College Football

What's the Best News You've Heard Today?

We detected that you might be on a mobile device such as an iPad or iPhone. Sorry, at this time the video box is only visible on desktop computers.
MOST POPULAR

Plattenburg: "Do Something Great"


By dishak and Connor McGlynn
10/18/14 | 9:14 p.m. PDT

USC CB John Plattenburg discussed his emotions following his first career start for the Trojans against the Buffaloes.

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy Resigns


By Olivia Niland
10/15/14 | 9:35 p.m. PDT

Deasy's resignation comes on the heels of weeks of negotiations.