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Investigating new treatments against Kaposi’s Sarcoma-associated herpesvirus

  • Researcher: Professor Adrian Whitehouse
  • Institution: University of Leeds
  • Award Amount: £178,323 for 3 years from October 2012
  • Cancer Type: Kaposi's Sarcoma
Investigating new treatments against Kaposi’s Sarcoma-associated herpesvirus

Several viruses are known to cause cancers. One such virus is Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). KSHV is the cause of Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), which is a type of cancer that is often associated with skin lesions, as well as two other diseases. KS is often associated with AIDS, and with the prevalence of AIDS in Africa being so high, it is now the most commonly reported adult tumour in sub-Saharan Africa. There are currently no vaccines or antiviral treatments against KSHV. The virus multiplies and spreads throughout the body by bursting the human cells (called lytic replication) in which they are living. This mechanism plays a big role in causing disease and tumour growth. Researchers therefore want to aim new treatments at stopping lytic replication. Professor Whitehouse will be using his Worldwide Cancer Research grant to study proteins that are involved in the spread of the virus, with the aim to find a way of blocking virus spread, and thereby stopping development of KS.

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