Cancer Research Identifies Virus

Four Harvard researchers have isolated a virus that causes cancer.

Luis V. Melendez, research associate in Bacteriology and Immunology and head of the research team, said that this is the first time scientists have located and identified such a virus. He said the experiment, which involved injecting a virus extracted from one monkey into another, could "eventually bring about a solution to the cancer problem."

Working along with Melendez in the experiment were Ronald D. Hunt, research associate in Pathology, Muthiah D. Daniel, research associate in Bacteriology and Immunology, and Felix Garcia, chairman of the Division of Zoo Techniques at the Primate Center of the Harvard Medical School, where the research as conducted.

Virus Specimen

The livers and kidneys of two of the monkeys which received injections yielded specimen of the virus even after the animals had died. Melendez termed this quite an accomplishment, since the type of virus involved usually dies quickly.


Experiments with monkeys are of major importance, Melendez said, because the primates are the closest form to man. He added that the work should be "tremendously important" in cancer research.

The findings were announced March 12 at a meeting of the International Academy of Pathology in San Francisco.