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Tests reveal colds link to cancer.


SCIENTISTS have identified a connection between the common cold virus and viruses that trigger cancer.

Researchers at St Andrew's University in Fife hope to use the similarities to find new ways of treating cancer.

Cancer Research Campaign Scotland estimates that one sixth of all cancers are caused by infection with a virus, including cervical cancer and some kinds of leukaemia. Until now the reason has been a mystery.

Professor Ron Hay, who heads the research team, said: "We are using a cold virus to try to crack the problem. Although it does not cause cancer itself, it has features in common with viruses that do.

"Our new research should tell us about the mechanisms viruses use to trigger cancer, perhaps helping in the design of life-saving new drugs."

The research will receive pounds 250,000 from the Cancer Research Campaign over three years.

Professor Gordon McVie, director general of the Cancer Research Campaign, welcomed the development.

He said: "Professor Hay's research is important because if we can find out how viruses cause cancer, we could develop new ways of preventing or treating the disease.

"It would be particularly satisfying if a common cold virus, which has been a nuisance to us for centuries, could one day help to save lives."

Cancer occurs when cells divide out of control. When viruses infect cells, they sometimes remove the brakes that prevent this happening.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Feb 20, 2001
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