New Pathogen Discovery (NPD)
Viral cancers provide unique opportunities for cancer treatment and prevention through development of antibody tests, antiviral therapy, and vaccines. At present, only seven established human tumor viruses are known, but numerous human cancers are suspected to have an infectious etiology that has not yet been identified. Discovery of each human tumor virus has spawned a new research field that has contributed to our understanding of infectious tumors and cancer biology.
This research theme, unique to UPCI, leverages UPCI researchers' established expertise in genomic technologies to identify new viral agents contributing to human cancer. NPD activity consists largely of collaborations between computational biologists and genomic research scientists. One recent success is the recent discovery of the Merkel Cell Polyoma Virus (MCV).
- Metagenomics reveals that sewage harbors a previously unknown genetic diversity of viruses that could play a role in human disease (Cantalupo et. al., Mbio e00180-11, 2011).
- Full Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV) virions were artificially assembled in laboratory cell lines (Feng et. al., PLOS One 6:e22468, 2011), and evidence was found that MCV is typically a harmless and asymptomatic infection of adults unless mutations occur within the viral genome (Tolstov et. al., Emerg Infect Dis. 2011 Aug;17(8):1371-80).
- Merkel cell Polyoma Virus (MCV) tumor antigen expression is necessary for the maintenance of MCV-positive Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) and MCV is the infectious cause of MCV-positive MCC (Houben et. al., J Virol. 84:7064-7072, 2010).
- Genome of the human blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni (Berriman et. al., Nature 60:352-8 2009).
Section Leader: Yuan Chang
|Chang, Yuan, MD
|Moore, Patrick, MD, MPH
Microbiology and Molecular Genetics