Episomal-Persistent DNA in Cancer and Chronic Diseases
Keywords: Persistent circular DNA, Infectious agents, Cancer, Chronic diseases, Reading List
The DKFZ division Episomal-Persistent DNA in Cancer and Chronic Diseases, presently headed by Nobel prize laureate Harald zur Hausen, aims at the identification and characterization of disease-associated persistent circular DNA of infectious agents in human materials. Recent studies suggest an involvement of such agents in the development of chronic neurodegenerative diseases (Manuelidis, J. Neurovirol. (2011; 17:131–145). Besides the isolation of such DNAs, central questions are whether and in which way these DNA-sequences and their gene products contribute to the development of certain pathologies. A proof for a direct link between an infection with these agents and a specific disease may open new avenues for intervention (vaccination, identification of patients at risk and targeted therapy).