Known Cancer-Pathogen Associations

Photo: Bill Branson

James J. Goedert
In the 1960s and '70s, as part of a nationwide war on cancer, U.S. virologists took part in a massive effort to find virally caused human cancers. They didn't find much in the way of causative viral agents, but their research did lead to key, high-impact discoveries including the tumor suppressors p53, ras, and myc, not to mention HIV. A profusion of interest in the cancer-causing roles of tumor suppressors, signal transduction, and cell cycling has followed.

But some contend it's time to return to viruses--to complement the incredible molecular and cell biology insights of the last 20 years with a better knowledge of the role that viruses and other pathogens play in the etiology of human cancers. University of California, San Francisco, professor of medicine Jay Levy, codiscoverer of HIV in 1983, goes so far as...

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