The subject of viruses and their role in causing or accelerating cancer is a fascinating subject. It is a topic that is often discussed in Germany where specific tests and antisense treatments are implemented to treat oncoviruses. (An oncovirus is a virus that can cause cancer.) If you missed my interview with Prof Ian Frazer last September, this special episode was encored today on Navigating the Cancer Maze. To link a virus to cancer in the 1980’s was contentious, but Ian Frazer persevered, convinced this needed further investigation.
Now his successful research and development of a cervical cancer vaccine has sold worldwide under the brand names Gardasil and Cervarix. To Listen to the interview select the link to Voice America below:
Professor Ian Frazer was born in 1953 in Glasgow, Scotland, into an academic family. He studied medicine at Edinburgh University and trained as a renal physician and clinical immunologist. He received a BSc(Med) in 1974 and an MB ChB in 1977.
In 1974, as part of his studies, Frazer spent three months at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne. In 1981 Frazer returned to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute where he continued his clinical training and undertook studies in viral immunology and autoimmunity and became particularly interested in human papilloma viruses (HPV).
In 1985 he took up a teaching position with the University of Queensland. When he moved to Brisbane he decided to continue his work with HPV, in particular HPV and cervical cancer. He was awarded a MD from the University of Melbourne in 1988. The work of Frazer with his colleague, the late molecular virologist Dr Jian Zhou, has led to the development of a vaccine which prevents infection with HPV and cervical cancer.
Prof Ian Frazer is currently CEO and Director of Research at the Translational Research Institute (TRI). Select link below to listen to interview with prof Ian Frazer:
The theory that cancer could be caused by a virus began with the experiments of Oluf Bang and Vilhelm Ellerman in 1908 who first show that avian erythroblastosis (a form of chicken leukemia) could be transmitted by cell-free extracts. This was subsequently confirmed for solid tumors in chickens in 1910-1911 by Peyton Rous.
By the early 1950s it was known that viruses could remove and incorporate genes and genetic material in cells. It was suggested that these new genes inserted into cells could make the cell cancerous. Many of these viral oncogenes have been discovered and identified to cause cancer.
The main viruses associated with human cancers are human papillomavirus, hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus, Epstein-Barr virus, human T-lymphotropic virus, Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus(KSHV) and Merkel cell polyomavirus. Experimental and epidemiological data imply a causative role for viruses and they appear to be the second most important risk factor for cancer development in humans, exceeded only by tobacco usage.
To continue visit source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oncovirus