Cytomegalovirus and Epstein Barr virus in Breast Cancer

Status: Complete
Year: 2012
Funded: $54,448
Grant Type: Major Project Grant

Several cancers can be caused by viruses, and it is known that a virus can cause breast cancer in mice.  It has been suggested that delayed exposure (in adulthood rather than in childhood) to a common virus such as cytomegalovirus (CMV) may cause breast cancer in humans. Our previous research supported the hypothesis that higher CMV antibody levels (as a marker of delayed exposure to CMV) are associated with breast cancer.  Here we will look at CMV DNA in breast cancer as evidence of CMV’s involvement in breast cancer development.   As in our previous research, we will investigate Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) as well as CMV.  Finding an association for CMV but not for EBV would strengthen our findings because it is unlikely that bias could cause a spurious association for CMV but not EBV, because the viruses are similar and are similarly transmitted.  Our proposed study will be the first to compare breast cancer tissue with paired normal breast tissue using a technique called quantitative PCR (QPCR), which allows measurement of the amount of CMV genetic material in tissue (rather than just the presence of CMV).

Researcher // Dr Logan Walker – University of Otago

Dr Walker’s primary research is focused on understanding how genetic changes cause an increased risk of cancer and/or affect tumour pathology.

More About Dr Logan Walker

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