Kaposi’s sarcoma is a cancer resulting from infection by the Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. There are no effective treatments for the advanced disease. This project is searching for potential new treatments by developing methods of blocking the damaging proteins produced by the virus.
How will this project tackle this challenge?
Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) is a cancer resulting from infection by the Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). There are no effective treatments for the advanced disease which has an extremely poor outcome. When KSHV is in its dormant phase following infection, it produces a limited number of proteins that enable the virus to evade the host immune responses whilst promoting its survival. These proteins are thought to initiate tumour growth and its spread to other sites (metastasis).
The team’s previous research has shown that we can block one of these essential proteins and that this alone can induce tumour cell death. This project therefore aims to develop and refine these blocking agents to produce those that are more potent. Given that they have low toxicity and are very specific in their action, they would make good drugs and therefore be of future patient benefit.
What this means for people affected by sarcoma
New treatments are needed for advanced Kaposi’s sarcoma, so this small study has the potential to transform the treatment of the disease.