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Role of the Human Polyomavirus, BKV, in Prostate Cancer

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Annual rept. 1 Aug 2001-31 Jul 2002

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BK virus BKV is a human polyomavirus that establishes a lifelong, persistent infection of the urinary tract. The virus encodes oncoproteins that have been shown to cause cancer in animal models, and recently BKV DNA has been detected in urinary tract tumors including the prostate. Prostate tumors have a relatively low frequency of mutations in the p53 and Rbl genes, indicating that an outside agent such as a virus may be inactivating the function of their gene products. The aims of this proposal are to determine if BKV is present in any prostate tumors and, if so, whether viral oncogenes are expressed and deregulate cell growth control. To accomplish this, matched normal and tumor tissue from individual patients will be analyzed. PCR and in situ PCR will be performed to determine the presence of viral sequences, and RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry will be used to examine gene expression. Viral sequences from patients will be cloned and their function compared to wild type strains of the virus. During the past year, we have been refining the assays and have begun to analyze a small set of samples. The results to date are not conclusive. If BKV is associated with a subset of prostate cancers, our knowledge of the virus will be useful in designing drugs and vaccines for treatment.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research

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