pasteur/genetech/cancer-link ?

Jim Owens jow at
Mon Jun 21 08:06:31 EST 1993

In article <1993Jun17.124212.16623 at> ,
suter at writes:
>+2. I'm not sure, but I always believed that SV40 is viable in humans,
so if it
>+carried an oncogene it could readily propagate and cause disease -  The
>+principle of viral oncogenes is well known (let's face it, it's how
>+such as src and ras were discovered). I think it is not unlikely that an
>+oncogene cloned into SV40 would be tumour-inducing.

This is a little bit off the immediate subject of this thread:

The initial public batch of Salk polio vaccine contained live SV40. 
African green monkey kidney cells were used to grow the polio viruses in
vitro.  SV40 was not known in 1950, and the amount of formaldehyde used
killed the polio viruses but was not enough to kill SV40.  It turned out
that the T (or t, I forget which is the surface protein) antigen was
strongly antigenic in humans, so we have been spared an epidemic of
kidney tumors in people by some luck.  

Of course now polio viruses for vaccine production are grown in *human*
cells.  I guess there are no covert human viruses lurking in these cells
or we should know about it by now.

Jim Owens

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