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Research Summary

The majority of all adults in the world are infected by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Following a primary infection of this herpesvirus during childhood or adolescence, EBV remains latent in our B-lymphocytes for the rest of our lives. For most of us this latent infection will go unnoticed. But for approximately 200,000 patients world-wide each year EBV-infection turns into a fatal disease in the form of hematological (post-transplantation lymphoproliferative disease, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Burkitt’s lymphoma) and epithelial malignancies (gastric adenocarcinoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma). However, despite decades of research on various EBV-antigens and clinical trials of antivirals and vaccines, no specific treatment is currently available for EBV-associated malignancies.

Recently it has been shown that EBV-associated gastric adenocarcinomas only express a single EBV-gene, RPMS1 (Tang KW et al. 2013). RPMS1 encodes a 4 kilobase-pair long non-coding RNA, and expression levels are in the top seven percent of all cellular genes expressed in gastric adenocarcinoma. Interestingly, despite being one of few putative targets for EBV-associated malignancies, this transcript has been completely neglected and the function is not yet known.

Our projects encompass clinical and molecular studies of the EBV-associated malignancies with particular focus on mutational landscapes and viral gene expression. We will use clinical samples from pre-malignant and malignant stages as well as cell lines. We will employ standard clinical assays and genetic manipulation techniques to affirm potential targets as clinically significant markers and important factors for proliferation.

Page Manager: Mattias Lindgren|Last update: 11/13/2017

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