Virus Link in Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the UK’s most common male cancer, but there may be a bit of good news on the disease’s development. It would appear that American scientists after examining more than 300 tumours from prostate cancer patients believe the illness could be caused by a virus. If this is so then it opens the possibility that the disease can be attacked by a vaccine.

After examining the tumour the scientists found an infection known as xenotropic murine leukaemia virus (XMRV) in under a third of them. The virus, closely related to one previously seen only in mice, was found in cancerous prostates removed from men with a certain genetic defect. The findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A leading researcher commented:

The researchers are yet to discover whether the virus is a cause, an effect or simply an innocent bystander in the development of the disease.