U.S. Pharmacist

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Clinical Evidence That Anticancer Drug Triggers Viral Infection

By Staff


5/20/2010

US Pharm. 2010;35(5):Epub.

Chapel Hill, NC—A recent finding that viruses and cancers interact in ways previously unknown to scientists constitutes an important advance in the fight against cancer. A study conducted by scientists at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine and the UNC Project in Malawi (southeastern Africa) found that the anticancer drug cyclophosphamide can activate infection by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which typically remains latent inside tumor cells of affected patients. This finding, reported in Clinical Cancer Research, paves the way for a future study—already being planned—using a cancer drug (cytoxan) and an antiviral agent simultaneously to eradicate both the active virus infection and the tumor. Researcher Margaret Gulley, MD, said, “What we have learned…is a potential means of capitalizing on presence of viral genomes within tumor cells to alter those tumor cells in a way that makes them more susceptible to treatment. [This has] implications for other EBV-related malignancies.”

To comment on this article, contact rdavidson@uspharmacist.com.

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U.S. Pharmacist is a monthly journal dedicated to providing the nation's pharmacists with up-to-date, authoritative, peer-reviewed clinical articles relevant to contemporary pharmacy practice in a variety of settings, including community pharmacy, hospitals, managed care systems, ambulatory care clinics, home care organizations, long-term care facilities, industry and academia. The publication is also useful to pharmacy technicians, students, other health professionals and individuals interested in health management. Pharmacists licensed in the U.S. can earn Continuing Education credits through Postgraduate Healthcare Education, LLC, accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.

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