$7.5 Million grant to Yale researchers for role of viruses in cancer

September 22, 2004

New Haven, Conn. -- The National Cancer Institute recently awarded a five-year, $7.5 million program project grant to investigators at the Yale School of Medicine to continue studies on the role of viruses and mutant cellular proteins in tumorigenic transformation of cells.

This grant, "Program on the Molecular Basis of Viral and Cellular Transformation," is currently in its 31st year and is one of the largest and longest-running basic science grants at Yale. It coordinates studies to understand how viral genes and related cellular genes cause cells to escape normal growth controls and induce cancer.

"Because viruses are so well-defined and relatively simple compared to their host cells, we are optimistic that studies supported by this grant will continue to identify new targets for therapy and suggest new approaches to prevent and treat cancers," said principal investigator Daniel DiMaio, M.D., Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Genetics and vice chair of the Department of Genetics.

DiMaio studies human papillomaviruses (HPV), the causative agents of cervical cancer. His laboratory has shown that HPV oncogenes must be expressed continuously in cervical cancer cells for the cells to maintain their malignant characteristics, validating the viral genes as new therapeutic targets. In the current granting period, the DiMaio laboratory will continue to dissect the pathways activated when HPV oncogenes are repressed in cervical cancer cells.

Epstein-Barr Virus and Kaposi's Sarcoma Herpesvirus, two herpesviruses that are unusual in their ability to persist in patients in a latent state for many years, are the focus of George Miller, M.D., John Enders Professor of Pediatrics and professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and Epidemiology and Public Health. His laboratory is analyzing molecular events that maintain these viruses in the latent state, and the mechanisms for inducing these viruses to re-enter active growth.

Joan Steitz, Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, also works on herpesviruses, focusing on the role of small viral RNAs in the induction and maintenance of tumors. Many RNAs that she studies were first identified in the collaboration with Miller supported by this grant.

Joann Sweasy, associate professor of Therapeutic Radiology and Genetics, investigates the role of mutant DNA polymerases in inducing cancer. Collaborating with DiMaio, she has found that some cancers may be due to inaccurate DNA synthesis by error-prone DNA polymerases.

"Working collaboratively on these related projects has enabled us to make much more rapid progress in understanding the molecular basis of cancer," said DiMaio.
-end-


Yale University

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.