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Does cytomegalovirus play a causative role in the development of various inflammatory diseases and cancer?. *

Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a herpes virus that infects and is carried by 70-100% of the world's population. During its evolution, this virus has developed mechanisms that allow it to survive in an immunocompetent host. For many years, HCMV was not considered to be a major human pathogen, as it appeared to cause only rare cases of HCMV inclusion disease in neonates. However, HCMV is poorly adapted for survival in the immunosuppressed host and has emerged as an important human pathogen in AIDS patients and in patients undergoing immunosuppressive therapy following organ or bone marrow transplantation. HCMV-mediated disease in such patients has highlighted the possible role of this virus in the development of other diseases, in particular inflammatory diseases such as vascular diseases, autoimmune diseases and, more recently, with certain forms of cancers.

Current research is focused on determining whether HCMV plays a causative role in these diseases or is merely an epiphenomenon of inflammation. Inflammation plays a central role in the pathogenesis of HCMV. This virus has developed a number of mechanisms that enable it to hide from the cells of the immune system and, at the same time, reactivation of a latent infection requires immune activation. Numerous products of the HCMV genome are devoted to control central functions of the innate and adaptive immune responses. By influencing the regulation of various cellular processes including the cell cycle, apoptosis and migration as well as tumour invasiveness and angiogenesis, HCMV may participate in disease development. Thus, the various drugs now available for treatment of HCMV disease (e.g. ganciclovir, acyclovir and foscarnet), may also prove to be useful in the treatment of other, more widespread diseases.

* Legal Disclaimer: Chelation and Hyperbaric Therapy, Stem Cell Therapy, and other treatments and modalities mentioned or referred to in this web site are medical techniques that may or may not be considered “mainstream”. As with any medical treatment, results will vary among individuals, and there is no implication or guarantee that you will heal or achieve the same outcome as patients herein.

As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 12-01-2008
Authors: SODERBERG-NAUCLER, C.
Source: Journal of Internal Medicine. 259(3),:219-246, March 2006.