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Mesri Lab

Laboratory of Viral Oncogenesis

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Investigator / Contact Person Enrique Mesri

Research Focus

Dr. Mesri’s lab focuses on the mechanisms of viral oncogenesis by the Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV), the causal agent of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS)—an AIDS-associated malignancy and the most frequent cancer in children and men in Africa---and of two AIDS-lymphomas. KS tumors are characterized by micro-vessel proliferation (angiogenesis), and in HIV-infected individuals, they are difficult to cure. Elucidation of the mechanism of malignant transformation and activation of angiogenesis by KSHV is key for the identification of viral and host therapeutic targets. Our main contributions include: 1) The identification of the viral G protein-coupled receptor (vGPCR), as the KSHV oncogene that induces angiogenesis and transformation in KS 2) Mouse models of KS to dissect the mechanism of KSHV oncogenesis in tumors and to test new cures 3) Anti-viral approaches to block KSHV cancers 4) The identification of KSHV activation of PDGF receptor as the main oncogenic mechanism and therapeutic target in KS.

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