NCI Marks 25th Anniversary of KSHV Discovery
The National Cancer Institute’s Office of HIV and AIDS Malignancy recently hosted the 17th International Conference on Malignancies in HIV/AIDS. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the discovery of the Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) by the husband-and-wife team of Drs. Patrick Moore and Yuan Chang, both of whom are professors at the University of Pittsburgh’s Hillman Cancer Center.
At the meeting, Dr. Douglas Lowy, then acting director of NCI, presented them with the NCI Director’s Career Achievement Award, highlighting the scientific advances made by these two researchers. In particular, the award was given for their discovery of 2 of the 8 known oncogenic viruses (KSHV and Merkel cell polyomavirus), the biology of these viruses and the means by which they cause cancers.
It had been recognized for some time that Kaposi sarcoma (KS) occurs more frequently in some AIDS risk groups than others, suggesting that a second transmissible agent causes KS. The identity of this agent remained elusive until 1994, when Chang and Moore co-discovered KSHV, also called human herpesvirus 8, and showed that it is the cause of KS and certain other cancers. This finding has since led to a goldmine of research, understanding and clinical advances.