Center For Translational Viral Oncology (CTVO)

Phase I COBRE: P20 GM121288

The Center for Translational Viral Oncology (CTVO) is funded by the NIGMS mechanism “Center for Biomedical Research Excellence” (COBRE) granted to the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans (LSUHSC-NO) in fall 2017. Dr. Krzysztof Reiss, Ph.D., serves as the PI/PD of the Center.

The CTVO forms a solid base for several multidisciplinary research projects with the thematic focus on viruses and cancer, and to establish multiple collaborations between the existing cancer virology programs at LSUHSC New Orleans, LSUHSC Baton Rouge, LSUHSC Shreveport, and Tulane University, which together form a highly productive collaborative network, which is a part of the Louisiana IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE). The major goals of the CTVO are: 1) to sustain the training and advancement of talented Junior Principal Investigators (JPIs); 2) to support the existing and to develop new research and administrative infrastructure; and 3) to continue collaborative efforts between scientists working in the field of viral oncology in our region.

The Center for Translational Viral Oncology (CTVO) is one of the Centers of Excellence at the LSU School of Medicine. It is housed within the Louisiana Cancer Research Center (LCRC), a 10-floor, state-of-the art facility, anchored in the BioDistrict New Orleans.  The office of the PD is located on the 6th floor of the LCRC, which also has a conference room for their use. The LCRC is partially funded by the state through the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium to promote collaborative research among LSU Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC), Tulane University Medical Center, Ochsner Medical Center, and Xavier University - an undergraduate historically black college with strong programs in biological sciences. The LCRC supports thematic research through four major collaborative, inter-institutional research programs: cancer immunology, cancer genetics, health disparities, and population sciences.

Viruses and Cancer

The International Agency for Research on Cancer estimates that about 20% of all human cancers can be caused by viruses. The first tumor virus was discovered by Payton Rous in 1911 and was named Rous Sarcoma Virus (RSV).

Viruses established as etiologic factors in human cancer:

  1. Epstein-Bar Virus (EBV): Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Burkett's lymphoma, and Primary CNS lymphomas in association with HIV
  2. Hepatitis B virus (HBV): Liver cancer
  3. Hepatitis C virus (HCV): Liver cancer
  4. Human T-lymphotropic virus-I (HTLV-I): T-cell leukemia, lymphomas
  5. Human Papillomavirus (HPV): cervical cancer, anogenital cancer, head and neck cancers.
  6. Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV): Kaposi’s sarcoma and other HIV-malignances.
  7. Merkel Cell Polyomavirus, which causes rare but devastating Merkel cell carcinoma.

Viruses suspected in the development of cancer:

  1. Human Polyomaviruses (JCV, BKV) suspected in the development of brain tumors, colon cancer and prostate cancer.
  2. Human Cytomegalovirus (hCMV) recently suspected in the development of Glioblastoma and head and neck cancers.

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