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Cancer vaccine a future possibility as 40 per cent of cancers linked to viruses

Published on 17/10/2011

Scientists have claimed that up to 40% of cancers are caused by viruses, a discovery which could one day lead to the development of vaccines against several forms of the disease.

Using DNA analysis, scientists at the Karolinksa Institute in Sweden have discovered a viral link with medulloblastoma, a form of childhood brain tumour. This follows the news two years ago that Merkel cell carcinoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer, follows infection by polyomavirus, a virus found in birds and caught by humans.

A paper, by Ronit Sarid, professor of virology at Israel's Bar-Ilan University, said: "We anticipate in the next few decades that many additional human cancer viruses will be discovered and the mechanisms underlying viral oncogenesis (cancer creation) discovered."

It is already known that the HPV (human papillomavirus) virus causes cervical cancer. This virus is passed on through genital contact, and can also be passed on during oral sex. The HPV virus causes normal cells on infected skin to turn abnormal, but vaccines can protect people against the most common form of the virus.

Scientists also knew that hepatitis B and C cause 80% of all primary liver cancers. Over the years they have developed an effective vaccine against hepatitis B, which results in the prevention of primary liver cancer caused by this virus.

With viruses being successfully prevented by vaccines, the discovery that 40% of all cancers are caused by viruses could lead to great medical developments in the future. Alan Rickinson, professor of cancer studies at Birmingham University, said:

‘If we can understand how these viruses work we could prevent people from contracting them and even create therapies that use the patient’s own immune system to destroy infected or cancerous cells.’

Patients with private medical insurance have access to drugs and treatments not available in the NHS. Compare health insurance policies now to ensure you benefit from future scientific developments.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011

Categories:  Medical
Cancer vaccine a future possibility as 40 per cent of cancers linked to virusesScientists have claimed that up to 40% of cancers are caused by viruses, a discovery which could one day lead to the development of vaccines    tweet it on twittershare with your friends on Facebookshare with your friends on MySpaceBlog it on your LinkedIn profile

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