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FINDINGS ON AIDS CANCER.

Byline: Charlene Laino Knight-Ridder Tribune News Wire

A new test strongly implicates a sexually transmitted virus in the development of Kaposi's sarcoma, a common cancer of AIDS patients, San Francisco researchers report.

The findings, published in the August issue of Nature Medicine, raise hopes that Kaposi's sarcoma can be prevented if effective drugs or vaccines can be developed to counter human herpes virus 8 (HHV8), said the University of California, San Francisco, scientists.

HHV8, a recently discovered virus, has been implicated in the cancer in several studies over the past two years, the researchers noted. However, some scientists have disputed the link, and there also have been conflicting reports about whether the virus is sexually transmitted.

The new data confirms not only that HHV8 is sexually transmitted, but also that it can cause Kaposi's sarcoma, the researchers said.

To arrive at their findings, the San Francisco team developed a new blood test for HHV8 infection that is based on detection of immune antibodies to the virus. Like HIV antibody testing, the new test is based on the concept that only people who are exposed to a given virus will develop antibodies to that virus.

The test was then used to analyze blood samples from 913 people, 528 of whom were HIV-positive.

HHV8 infection was significantly more common in blood samples from people with sexually transmitted diseases, a clear indicator of sexual activity, the researchers found.

``The results of this study strongly suggest that HHV8 is sexually transmitted,'' said researcher Dr. Don Ganem. ``Our new findings also provide additional evidence indicating that HHV8 infections play an important role in Kaposi's sarcoma.''
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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Date:Aug 1, 1996
Words:270
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