Canadian researchers have discovered that a tumor cell marker is a receptor for measles virus, suggesting the possible use of measles virus to help fight cancer.
Their findings appear in the Open Access journal PLoS Pathogens.
Viruses cause infection by attaching to specific proteins on cell surfaces called receptors. Dr. Chris Richardson of Dalhousie Medical School in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and colleagues found that the tumor cell marker, PVRL4 (Nectin 4), is a receptor for measles virus.
The PVRL4 receptor is found in airway cells, and measles virus infects tissue in the respiratory tract and lungs. Large amounts of PVRL4 are also present in many cancers that originate from cells of the lung, breast, colon, and ovaries.
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"Tumor Cell Marker PVRL4 (Nectin 4) Is an Epithelial Cell Receptor for Measles Virus." (http://www.plospathogens.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.ppat.1002240)