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AdvocacySV40 Virus

Last update: 01/04/2013

TOPIC SEARCH PubMed: SV40 AND Lymphoma | SV40 - therapeutic vaccines?

Here we will post information related to the simian virus 40 (SV40) and it's possible connection to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. 

We believe there are reasons to further explore the following:

  1. How SV40 interacts with human DNA ;

  2. How it may spread from person to person;

  3. How this virus might potentially cause and/or promote lymphomas and other cancers;

  4. If SV40 contributes to drug resistance, for example, by silencing p53, and;

  5. How the SV40 antigen might be exploited as a treatment target for immune-based therapies.


Simian Virus 40 and Human Cancer http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/risk/sv40
No evidence for simian virus 40 DNA sequences in malignant non-Hodgkin lymphomas.
Int J Cancer. 2006 Jan 15;118(2):498-504. PMID: 16052520
Presence of simian virus 40 DNA sequences in human lymphoid and hematopoietic malignancies and their relationship to aberrant promoter methylation of multiple genes.
Cancer Res. 2004 Jun 1;64(11):3757-60. PMID: 15172980
The Virus and the Vaccine ~ Investigational journalists have written a book on the SV40 and it's possible role in the increased incidence of lymphoma and other cancers.  thevirusandthevaccine.com 
Association between SV40 and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Leuk Lymphoma. 2003;44 Suppl 3:S33-9. PMID: 15202523 | Related articles
Higher incidence of Simian virus 40 in primary gastric diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) than primary nodal disease in Chinese patients, but of no prognostic implication. ASCO 2004 ~ Abstract No: 6671
Monkey Virus May Hold Clue to Blood Cancer  Cancerwise.org 2004
Examination of tumors in patients with newly diagnosed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) found that half of them show evidence of monkey virus DNA that may have originated from contaminated polio vaccines, M. D. Anderson researchers say.
Monkey virus (SV40) may hold clue for development of common blood cancer eurekalert.org  Mar 2004
SV40: an emerging pathogen that's been around for fifty years  vaccinationnews - 2003 July/18
SV40 in human brain cancers and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Oncogene. 2003 Aug 11;22(33):5164-72. Review. PMID: 12910253
  • Simian virus 40 in human cancers - Summary of report

    American Journal of Medicine 1 June 2003, Volume 114, Issue 8 Pages 675-684

    Regis A. Vilchez MD 

    Key: OR means odds ratio |  CI means confidence interval

    bone cancer       OR = 25; 95% CI: 6.8 to 88
    mesothelioma    OR = 17; 95% CI: 10 to 28
    NHL                    OR = 5.4; 95% CI: 3.1 to 9.3 *
    brain cancer      OR = 3.9; 95% CI: 2.6 to 5.8)

    Translation: This means that specimens from patients with NHL were 5 times more likely to have evidence of SV40 infection than were the controls.  Confidence range: 3 to 9 times more likely.

    *  NHL results based on three studies with 301 cases and 578 control samples.

    Conclusion from report: These results establish that SV40 is associated significantly with brain tumors, bone cancers, malignant mesothelioma, and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Studies are needed to assess current prevalence of SV40 infections.
Polio vaccine: A team of Danish and American researchers has found no carcinogenic link in the common polio vaccine cphpost.periskop.dk April_03
Lack of serological evidence for an association between simian virus 40 and lymphoma.
Int J Cancer. 2003 Apr 10;104(4):522-4. PMID: 12584752  PubMed
Serology - A blood test that detects the presence of antibodies to a particular antigen 
Sewage Yields Clues to SV40 Transmission  JAMA Sep_18
Immunization Safety Review Committee iom.edu
SLIDES & PRESENTATIONS (see below): SV40 Contamination of Polio Vaccine and Cancer Meeting Agenda  iom.edu 
Brief History and Important Questions
William Egan, PhD, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, FDA  PDF
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Some Key Details & Reports

  • SV40 usually infects rhesus monkeys.
  • "SV40 is a known carcinogen. It targets the lung's mesothelial cells, brain cells, bone cells and blood cells, producing a protein that knocks out two human tumor-suppressor genes, p53 and Rb. There is no reliable blood test for SV40 exposure." - WSJ 7-19-02
  • "In animal models, the neoplasias induced by SV40 included primary brain cancers, malignant mesotheliomas, bone tumors and system lymphomas." - Vilchez, et al. Simian Virus 40 in Human Cancers, June 2003, The American Journal of Medicine, Vol 114
  • Between 1955 and 1963 a polio vaccine contaminated with SV40 was accidentally given to millions of people.  In the USA, vaccine lots received by about 20 states are estimated to have contained 0·75-0·97 mL contaminated vaccine per child, lots from about 15 states were thought to have contained 0·01-0·74 ml contaminated vaccine per child, and about 15 states were believed to have received lots that were free from SV40.   Dr. Mercola 
  • High levels of SV-40 were identified in polio vaccines in:
    Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington  DC, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

    Low levels of SV-40 were found in: Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia. 
    Source: National Institutes of Health, 1950's Contaminated Polio Vaccines - A Deadly Cure By Geraldo Fuentes viewzone.com 9-16-00
  • Recently, researchers scanned 99 lymphomas, 235 epithelial tumors and 40 control tissues for the virus. 
    They found the virus in:
    • 43% of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, 
    • 9% of Hodgkin's lymphomas, 
    • Importantly, no SV40 was found in the tissue of healthy controls. 
      See Presence of simian virus 40 DNA sequences in human lymphomas.  
      Lancet. 2002 Mar 9;359(9309):851-2. PMID: 11897287   PubMed
    Importantly, a second reputable team independently found the virus in 42% of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. See below.
  • "In March, however, researchers led by Janet Butel of Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, reported that 42% of the non-Hodgkin lymphomas they analyzed contained genetic sequences from SV40. And not just any SV40: In several tumors, it was precisely the genome of the SV40 in the vials of the 1955 polio vaccine that Dr. Ratner had held onto, waiting for someone to care. Lab-grown SV40 harbors a variant genome. There might be other sources, in addition to vaccine, of this strain of SV40, but to more and more scientists Dr. Butel's findings were the smoking gun." - WSJ 7-19-02
  • The incidence of NHL has nearly doubled over the last 30 years.
  • Between 1955 and 1961, an estimated nine million Canadians, about half the adult population and most of the children, were vaccinated, primarily with the Salk vaccine. The incidence of NHL in Canada is high and has also risen.
  • "Amid dueling data, some facts are uncontested. An estimated two-thirds of the polio vaccines -- the oral Sabin and the injected Salk -- administered from 1955 to 1963 contained SV40, including the vials Dr. Ratner saved. Contaminated vaccine was also given to children and some adults in Australia, Canada, Denmark and Germany, and possibly Russia, Mexico and other countries." - WSJ 7-19-02
  • June 2003: Specimens from patients with NHL were 5 times more likely to have evidence of SV40 infection than were the controls.  Confidence range: 3 to 9 times more likely. - Vilchez, et al. Simian Virus 40 in Human Cancers, June 2003, The American Journal of Medicine, Vol 114
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Question Needing Answers

  • If SV40 is a factor in causing NHL, is it reasonable to assume that all clones of the original malignant cell will also be positive for SV40? In NHL tissue sample evaluated to date that are SV40+, is it known if all malignant cells are SV40 positive, or some significant percentage? 
  • Do adjacent non-malignant cells also test positive or negative for SV40?
  • In SV40+ subjects, what types of cells are typically infected? Are investigators finding in patients with SV40-positive tumors that normal tissue or lymphocytes are also infected with SV40?
  • What technical or financial obstacles prevent testing NHL pts and the general public for exposure to SV40 - it's our hope that epidemiological studies can be conducted.

    It's our understanding that these tests are required in order for epidemiologists to determine if the Simian virus 40 virus is a factor for the dramatic increase of NHL in the last 30 years.
  • Since it was reported that some patients with SV40-infected tumors were born after 1963, is SV40 continuing to spread among humans in other ways?
  • What has to be done to determine how SV40 might be transmitted from person to person? Might animal studies provide clues on the possible transmission of SV40 in humans?
  • What is known about SV40 cancer causing  mechanisms?  
  • Does SV40 infection promote NHL or lead to transformation?
  • Is it possible to design treatments that target cancers positive for SV40?
  • What is the NIH doing to determine the relationships between SV40 and NHL and what actions will they take if it is proven to increase the risk of NHL?
  • Does the NIH have a conflict of interest in investigating this matter since the SV40-contaminated vaccine was administered by the government?
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& Research News


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  • Simian Virus 40, poliovirus vaccines and human cancer: research progress versus media and public interest, Butel  PDF | PDF-Help Bulletin WHO 2000
  • SV40, Vaccines, and Human Cancers,  Engles, NCI  PDF 
  • Simian 40 virus seen as entrenched in humans, but oncogenicity disputed   Reuters Health Jul_11
  • SV40 virus found in human lymphoma samples eurekalert | cancerfacts
  • Presence of SV40 DNA sequences in specific lymphomas  Lymphomas.rtf  (Lancet)
  • P53 gene & Cancer & SV40  portfolio.mvm.ed.ac.uk
    • Polyoma virus middle T and small t antigens cooperate to antagonize p53-induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Cell Growth Differ. 2000 Jan;11(1):31-9. PMID: 10672901  PubMed
    • "The p53 protein is critical to normal regulation of cell growth and is a suppressor of tumour cell proliferation. Inactivation of the p53 gene may occur by a number of mechanisms. These include genomic damage possibly through cellular damage eg ionising radiation, missense mutations, viral interaction eg simian virus 40 (SV40) large T antigen, adenovirus E1b protein and papillomavirus E6 protein or interactions with other cellular proteins eg MDM2.  novocastra.co.uk
  • Simian virus 40 and human malignancy: contamination of early polio vaccine may be linked to rare tumours. (Editorial) Author/s: S.C. Stenton  BMJ  1998
    Good overview and background.
  • Details about the Polio vaccine contamination: A Deadly Cure By Geraldo Fuentes  viewzone.com 9-16-00
  • Simian virus 40 and human cancer. Monaldi Arch Chest Dis. 1998 Apr;53(2):198-201. Review.
    PMID: 9689809   PubMed
  • Canadian-specific information: Cancer Linked to Vaccine Fouled by Monkey Virus! Polio inoculation  http://tech.groups.yahoo.com
  • Here's some info on the potential to create a therapeutic vaccine for SV40 cancers  mesothel.com
  • Study Shows Possible Cancer Link Between Virus and Fiber (how the sv40 virus works in mesothelioma, a brain cancer)  Loyola University Health System 
  • Epigenetic changes in virus-associated human cancers  cell-research.com 


Conflict of Interest?


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512 West Maple Avenue, #206 Vienna, Virginia 22180

CONTACT: Barbara Loe Fisher 703-938-0342 for immediate release January 27, 1998

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Vaccine Information Center is criticizing an article published in today's Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) as an attempt by government officials with conflicts of interest to prematurely dismiss the role of polio vaccines contaminated with simian virus 40 (SV 40) in human bone, brain and lung cancers. The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) cites incomplete data and methodological flaws in the government's analysis and points out that there is an inherent conflict of interest in having government officials lead investigations of health problems associated with vaccines which the government researches, regulates and promotes for universal use.

"There are huge information gaps in data used by the government to come up with the conclusion that simian virus 40 (SV40) contaminating early polio vaccines have not played a role in human cancers. It is another example of bad science by government officials using limited data to make the public believe they have the answers before all the facts are in," said Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of NVIC.

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