Voices Against Brain Cancer Responds to an Outbreak of Brain Tumors in Raccoons

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Voices Against Brain Cancer reacts to a recent Wired.com article that reports that a brain cancer causing virus has been detected in raccoons located in Oregon and California.

On January 31, Voices Against Brain Cancer (VABC) responds to an article published by Wired.com regarding a recent outbreak of brain cancer among raccoons.

According to an article from Wired.com, “There’s no reason to think the virus could be contagious to humans. Its emergence does, however, raise fascinating questions about how it evolved and whether patterns of suburban development actually fueled its rise.”

The article went on to say that the raccoons were all from the West Coast – either Oregon or San Francisco. Researchers found an unknown form of polyomavirus in each of the raccoons, a virus that can cause skin cancer in humans. According to Wired.com, researchers believe there is a connection between the brain tumors and the polyomavirus.

There is also the possibility that the brain tumors were passed on from other animals such as opossums and skunks. “Unlike other polyomaviruses, it doesn’t seem to fuse with the DNA of its host cells, but instead floats outside the chromosomes, potentially representing a new mechanism by which the virus induces cancer,” the article stated.

Following the research, VABC Chairman Michael Klipper said that although these brain tumors were found in raccoons, implications from the research can have a profound effect on humans battling brain cancer. “We hope that researchers can find a link between brain tumors in animals and tumors in humans. This can potentially present a breakthrough in cancer research,” he said.

VABC has a wide variety of initiatives in place for brain cancer research, awareness and support. The organization’s research grants fund cutting-edge research programs that will have a monumental impact on the diagnosis and treatment of brain cancer. VABC currently funds research at several esteemed institutions such as Brookhaven National Laboratory, Cleveland Clinic, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Harvard, John Hopkins, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and Yale, to name a few.

VABC's mission is to find a cure for brain cancer by advancing scientific research, increasing awareness within the medical community and supporting patients, their families and caregivers afflicted with this devastating disease.

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Alicia McAllister
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