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Epstein Barr-Like Virus Infects and May Cause Cancer in Dogs

More than 90 percent of humans have antibodies to the Epstein Barr virus. Best known for causing mononucleosis, or "the kissing disease," the virus has also been implicated in more serious conditions, including Hodgkin's, non-Hodgkin's and Burkitt's lymphomas. Yet little is known about exactly how EBV triggers these diseases.

Now a team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and Penn's Perelman School of Medicine has the first evidence that an Epstein Barr-like virus can infect and may also be responsible for causing lymphomas in man's best friend.

The findings suggest that domestic dogs possess a similar biology to humans with respect to EBV infection. That could allow scientists to study dogs to help uncover the mechanisms by which EBV leads to cancer in certain people.

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