Approximately 17% of human cancer cases occurring world-wide are caused by one of 6 human viruses, Human papillomavirus (HPV), Epstein Barr virus (EBV), Hepatitis B virus (HBV), Hepatitis C virus (HCV), Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8; Kaposi´s sarcoma herpesvir us) and Human T- cell leukemia virus I (HTLV-I). In addition, the bacterium Helicobacter pylori is the infectious agent responsible for the second highest number of infection-associated cancers and additional infectious etiologies of cancer are likely to e xist. The INCA Integrated Project aims towards a better understanding of (1) the molecular and cellular circuits involved in the development of cancers caused by these infectious agents, (2) the mechanisms of long-term persistence of these infectious agent s in apparently healthy hosts, and (3) which genetic factors contribute to cancer development. Based on this knowledge INCA will develop and validate (4) animal models to study chronic inflammation and cancer progression, and (5) new diagnostic procedures for the identification of infected individuals likely to develop infection-associated malignancies. This will ultimately lead to (6) the identification of new drugs and procedures to interfere with processes that are central to the development of infection -associated cancer. The results of this joint effort will contribute to our understanding of malignant transformation and provide us with new tools to address an urgent socio-economic and human need. The INCA consortium will take a multi-disciplinary appro ach to the realisation of these goals and brings together scientists including SMEs from different backgrounds, who will work at all levels of a prevention and therapy-oriented process. The organisation of the research themes and joint activities in INCA s ubprojects will ensure the rapid spread of new findings into the entire programme. Professional management will promote efficient integration, realisation of scientific objectives & knowledge dissemination.
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