Pieces of the viral puzzle…

I have been horrendously busy these days, which means that I have not had any time to keep going through all the messages and comments I received in response to my “possible viral connection” post. Frustrating, but there you go. Today, however, after reading a few Science Daily articles, I decided to jot down a few notes that I hope will give us some food for thought. I may be wrong, but it seems to me as though we have been handed a couple of central pieces that could help us put together our huge viral puzzle…

The first article, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101026121749.htm, informs us that researchers have identified three key molecules in multiple myeloma. They are microRNAs, which, as we can read in the article, are a large class of molecules that are master regulators of many important cell processes. In myeloma, these molecules are “silenced” (Remember the Polycomb repressor genes? Hah.). At any rate, when reactivated, these three molecules wake up p53, which is best known as the tumor-suppessor gene. What happens next is that myeloma cells stop growing and begin dying…This is exactly what we want…More details can be found in the article, of course…

An important excerpt: Overall, Croce says, “our results provide the basis for developing a microRNA-based therapy for multiple myeloma.

The second article, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101025161217.htm, is about (ta tata taratata, drum roll!!!) the relationship between microRNAs and the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). A new study shows that EBV uses its own viral microRNAs to evade the immune system. Incidentally, EBV is more common than I thought: up to 95% of U.S. citizens have it. Anyway, in most cases the virus falls into a deep slumber and never wakes up again…but some unfortunate EBV-infected folks, e.g. those with weak immune systems, can develop cancer (Hodgkin’s lymphoma, e.g.). One of the study authors concludes that microRNA activity has a real and potent effect on health. No kidding. I found this article absolutely fascinating and plan to re-read it more carefully ASAP.

And now we get to the third article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100928092843.htm New research shows that it might be possible to reverse (REVERSE!!!) those cancers that are caused by microRNAs. The study focuses on a specific microRNA, miR 380, that disables the tumor-suppressing p53 gene in childhood neuroblastoma. Well, when this group of scientists inhibited pesky miR380, cancer cells died and tumours became much smaller. Yay! The article concludes that While this finding is at an early research stage, it holds much promise for the future treatment of early childhood neuroblastomas and other microRNA- induced cancers. Ah, also for other microRNA-induced cancers

Now, given Dr. Croce’s above-mentioned words, wouldn’t this bit of research benefit myeloma patients, too?

Exciting times…Too bad that I am in such a hurry today…!!!


  1. My hematologist always claimed that EBV is a virus that can cause chromosome changes and that the whole spectrum of it’s influence on various diseases is not yet known. She also told me there’s a group of lymphomas called “EBV related lymphomas”. But anyway – you gave us some really GREAT articles and news again. Go Margaret!! 🙂

  2. Hi Margaret,
    Thank you sooo much for your blog.I’m a regular reader though I’m writing for the 1st time. My husband 39yrs, has a very aggressive myeloma. He underwent an auto transplant 2 mnths ago. We have just started with his curcumin. I was wondering if you have heard about AHCC, and whether curcumin, AHCC and revlimid can be given together. He may be given revlimid maintainence after a month. AHCC is a great booster of the NK cells among other things that does. I believe it is widely used in Japan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *