“This is a key step towards uncovering how this common virus which, affects thousands of people every year, causes blood cancer,” said Dr. West in a press release
issued by the University of Sussex. “It is now important to carry out further studies to determine how the Epstein-Barr virus controls other genes that are associated with lymphoma. This will tell us more about how the virus drives lymphoma development and will help to identify new ways of targeting Epstein-Barr virus-infected cancer cells with specific drugs.”
The study was made possible in part with funding from the UK blood cancer charity Bloodwise, which welcomed the findings as a sign of progress in tackling EBV-related cancers. “We have known for many years that the Epstein-Barr virus causes various types of lymphoma, but we were never sure of the exact mechanisms,” said Bloodwise Research Director Alasdair Rankin, PhD. “These new findings have shed light on how the virus is able to drive blood cancer development by altering the behavior of genes that control cancer growth. By mapping out the complex genetic interactions that help lymphoma cells grow and survive, this research can guide the design of new treatments to target the disease. It may also help to identify those drugs currently used to treat other diseases that could be effective in treating these types of lymphoma.”
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