Herpes Linked to Brain Cancer
Surgeon's hunch launches vaccine trials
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Oct 6, 2008 7:40 AM CDT
Ted Kennedy, who was operated on at Duke University, has not confirmed if he is one of the patients in the CMV vaccine trial.   (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
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(Newser) – Cancer researchers are finally taking seriously a young surgeon’s decade-long hunch that brain tumors are linked to a strain of herpes that lies dormant in 80% of Americans. The physician speculated that brain cancer patients—many of them affluent and educated—were more vulnerable to common viruses such as the herpes CMV strain because of their "hyper-hygienic" lives, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

"I stopped to think, If I was going to cause a brain tumor, what would I be? CMV made a lot of sense,” he said. The link has now been confirmed in at least three new studies, and CMV vaccine trials have begun for chemo patients. Several of them are tumor-free after two years, rare for a cancer that returns within months of treatment in 95% of cases.