Wistar to use grant in fight against Epstein-Barr virus cancers

Dec 15, 2011 11 years ago

Philadelphia Business Journal
by Peter Key, Reporter

The Wistar Institute said Thursday it has received an award of up to $4.7 million from an English charity to develop a drug against cancers caused by the Epstein-Barr virus.

Wistar said on its website that the Seeding Drug Discovery Award from the Wellcome Trust will support research by Professor Paul M. Lieberman, who is working on what could be the first therapeutic to treat EBV-related cancer by attacking the virus as it remains dormant in a patient’s cells.

EBV is one of the world’s most common human viruses, according to the National Center for Infectious Diseases, which says that most people become infected with it at some point in their lives. The virus may linger in someone’s body for decades and cause cells it infects to become cancerous. It’s estimated to cause nearly 400,000 cases of cancer a year, including Burkitt’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, gastric carcinoma and some oral and throat cancers.

The Wistar Institute is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institute with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. It’s based in Philadelphia’s University City section.

The Wellcome Trust is a London-based charitable foundation dedicated to improving human and animal health. It was established by Henry Wellcome, the co-founder of one of the predecessors of GlaxoSmithKline plc. Its release on the work to be funded by the award can be found on this page.

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