Cancer researchers find potential key in viral protein

Cancer researchers find potential key in virus
Cancer researchers find potential key in virus | Courtesy of
Florida State University researchers recently made a significant discovery in identifying a viral protein that stops the body’s immune response against viral infections, which may change how scientists research cures from cancer.

Approximately 15 percent of cancer cases are due to viruses, which is why researchers have been studying how the human body responds against viral infections and why certain viruses are able to maintain an infection that lasts the host’s entire life.

This research has led scientists to identify cGas, or the major DNA sensor in cells. This has urged them to evaluate the specific sensor within a human disease context. The sensor should have warned the body that a disease was invading the system.

This discovery opens new opportunities for cancer research and treatment as scientists may be able to manipulate the viral protein, called KicGas, the DNA sensor, and the cellular pathway to help fight against infections, autoimmune diseases and cancer.

"We can manipulate the protein and/or the sensor to boost or tune down the immune response in order to fight infectious and autoimmune diseases, as well as cancers," Fanxiu Zhu, a Florida State University professor of cancer research, said.

Further details are available in the Cell Host and Microbe journal.

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