Funds are requested to continue an annual series of meetings on interdisciplinary aspects of cancer virology. Cancer viruses have been important subjects for scientific study, since 1) they have provided numerous insights into basic cancer processes, and 2) ca. 20-25% of cancer worldwide has a viral etiology. While there are several specialty meetings that deal with the biochemistry and molecular biology of particular oncogenic viruses, there are no other meetings that deal with all of these viruses in an interdisciplinary fashion. For the first meeting in the competing renewal, we propose the topic of "New Viruses Associated with Human Cancer". Recently new candidate viruses for human cancers have been identified, most notably MCPyV in Merkel cell carcinoma and XMRV in prostate cancer;additional candidate viruses for other human cancers also have been identified. This meeting will bring together researchers on these new viruses with those working on established human oncogenic viruses including herpesviruses (EBV, KSHV), papillomaviruses (HPV), retroviruses (HTLV-I), and hepatitis viruses (HBV and HCV). An interdisciplinary meeting will be valuable since different oncogenic viruses use different mechanisms in oncogenic transformation (direct and indirect), which will provide important conceptual frameworks for the new candidate human oncogenic viruses. Meetings in subsequent years will address topics such as Viruses and Intracellular Trafficking, Viral Oncogenes, Viral Latency and Persistence, and Post-transcriptional Regulation of Viral Expression.
This project will support annual interdisciplinary meetings in viral oncology. Cancer viruses are important because 1) study of them has (and continues to) revealed important principles and molecules involved in carcinogenesis, and 2) 20-25% of human cancers worldwide have a viral involvement. The approach will be to organize focused interdisciplinary workshops that bring together researchers on different viruses to explore timely topics. The first topic proposed for this funding period is New Viruses Associated with Human Cancer. In the past three years, two new candidate viruses associated with Merkel cell carcinoma (a skin cancer) and prostate cancer have been discovered. These viruses and other new candidate human cancer viruses will be compared with other established human cancer viruses, with the goal of solidifying causal relationships, and identifying mechanisms of carcinogenesis.