Strategies in the Prevention of Infections by Oncogenic Viruses
Viruses of various families of the RNA or the DNA viruses are associated with tumors in both animals and man. The mechanisms by which such oncogenic viruses transform normal cells into malignant cells differ. However, they all produce genetic changes and/or changes in the expression of genes which are responsible for controlling normal or abnormal cellular functions. Simply put, a strategy to prevent infection with oncogenic viruses (or rather, to prevent the oncogenic result of such infection) would be to interfere with viral replication, by inhibiting integration of the viral genome into the host-cell genome, or by suppression of viral gene expression, each of which can lead to genetic alteration in host cells. Inhibition of viral replication, at least in some experimental systems, has been achieved by blocking viral enzymes through providing synthetic small substrate decoys in large excess. Blocking the reverse transcriptase of retroviruses with various chemical substances also has been tried in many studies. However, although chemicals which preferentially block viral reverse transcriptases and not host-cell enzymes have been identified, their therapeutic efficiency has been disappointing. This is because they only inhibit virus multiplication but do not eliminate the already integrated viral genomes. Also, such chemicals would have to be given for a long time, possibly even lifelong, which is impracticable and in most cases impossible because of toxicity.
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