Viral Oncology

Human papillomavirus infected cells

Persistent viruses are pathogens that co-exist in balance with and for the life of their immunocompetent hosts, often without causing any symptoms. The delicate virus-host balance can be upset by perturbation of the immune responses, or through genetic or environmental factors.

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that persistent viruses are a major worldwide source of morbidity and mortality, responsible for diverse pathologies ranging from virus-associated cancers to life-threatening virus replicative infections. Viruses are estimated to be associated with the pathogenesis of 15-25% of all human cancers worldwide.

Aims of the Viral Oncology research theme are to understand better the virus:host balance which normally enables asymptomatic persistence, and to elucidate the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which tumour viruses cause malignant and non-malignant disease.Our research groups are studying 5 different viruses that cause cancer: