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The Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series presents the annual George Khoury Lecture
Infection causes one in five cancers throughout the world. Why do just seven human viruses cause cancer, but not others? Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV), the recently discovered cause of Merkel cell carcinoma (a rare type of skin cancer), provides clues on how viruses can cause cancer as well as insights into cancers that are not caused by infection. Tumor-virus studies reveal a fundamental duality between antiviral defenses and tumor suppression. MCV is an example in which mutations to our viral flora, not to the host cells themselves, help to turn this innocuous agent into the cause for the most aggressive skin cancer. MCV also reveals how a small virus, composed of just a few genes, can persist and successfully evade the immune system for decades. This feature has importance not only for viral cancers but also may give clues to other chronic viral infections.
About the Khoury lecture:
Organized by NIH scientists to honor the memory of cancer virologist George Khoury, M.D., who was highly regarded as a superb scientist and caring mentor of the postdoctoral fellows in his laboratory. Dr. Khoury, former chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Virology at the National Cancer Institute, was known for his instinctive inquisitive nature, unfaltering kindness, self-giving mentorship, and exceptional science.