Worldwide, 15% of all cancer cases and nearly 25% of cancer cases in developing countries are attributable to viruses. Human cancers associated with virus infection include human papillomavirus, human T-cell leukemia virus type 1, Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and Kaposi's sarcoma-associated human herpesvirus (KSHV). Of these, KSHV is the leading cause of death in HIV-infected individuals. Infection of KSHV is estimated to account for 34,000 new cancer cases globally. Efforts to develop a KSHV vaccine are limited, due to lack of animal model to test the potential vaccine candidates. Through collaborations, we now have access to common marmosets, a non-human primate model that support KSHV infection and develop skin lesions typical in infected individuals. We have also developed a virus-like particle platform to display KSHV envelope glycoprotein antigens as candidate vaccines that has potential to prevent or treat KSHV infection and its associated malignancies.
Several human cancers are attributable to viruses. Every year, Kaposi's sarcoma-associated human herpesvirus (KSHV) accounts for 34,000 new cancer cases worldwide. We propose to use a combination of novel virus-like particles, labeled KSHV, and newly developed animal model to study how KSHV infection occurs. Our findings will be essential to developing new therapeutics and vaccines to treat and prevent KSHV- associated diseases.