Whether viruses cause prostate cancer has been a subject of scientific research for some years.
Now scientists at Utah and Columbia Universities have found a virus in animals which they have linked to 27% of the cells found in advanced prostate, and to no more than 6% of prostates without cancer.
The scientists’ next step is to determine if this virus, - known as the XMRV, appears in people who died of non-cancerous causes. Whether or not this is the case, they anticipate developing new diagnostic tests that in turn could lead to the development of a vaccine to prevent this virus in the first place.
Details of these findings were reported in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That report indicates that it’s already been determined that viruses can cause other cancers such as cervical cancer and cancer sarcoma (connective tissues) as well as lymphomas (immune system).
The new prostate cancer viral research is promising, especially since scientists have not yet determined what factors cause prostate cancer. If the XMRV virus is a factor that interrupts normal cell growth, it might be possible to develop a serum to eliminate this virus altogether. The result may be a new way to fight prostate cancer before it even appears.
Applying science to safeguard our health is a welcome prospect. The wheels of progress in cancer research have moved all too slowly. Still this scientific development, along with others, indicates we’re well on our way to discovering how to save more lives.