UCLA study describes structure of tumor herpes virus associated with Kaposi ’s sarcoma

UCLA researchers have provided the first description of the structure of the herpes virus associated with Kaposi ’s sarcoma, a type of cancer.The discovery answers important questions about how the virus spreads and provides a potential roadmap for the development of antiviral drugs to combat both that virus and the more common Epstein-Barr virus, which is present in more than 90 percent of the adult population and is believed to have a nearly identical structure.In the study, published in the journal  Nature, the UCLA team showed in the laboratory that an inhibitor could be developed to break down the herpes virus. Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpes virus, or KSHV, is one of two viruses known to cause cancer in humans.There are eight types of human herpes viruses, and they cause a wide spectrum of diseases, ranging from common cold sores to cancer. Most people carry one or more of the viruses. The herpes virus typically does not cause major health problems until the immune system is compromised — after an organ transplant, by AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system, or in older age.KSHV was discovered in the mid-1990s at the height of the AIDS epidemic, when as many as half of people with AIDS were found to have the virus; it continues to be the most common cancer-causing virus associated with AIDS. In low-income countries, KSHV also poses a significant threat to people who don ’t have AIDS. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, approximately 40 percent...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news