"Liberation" of a previously suppressed virus may be the mechanism by which radiation causes tumors in laboratory animals.
This is the working hypothesis of three investigators at Argonne National Laboratory. Their evidence includes:
Isolation of an oncogenic virus that produces only one type of tumor, osteosarcoma:
Similarities between the electron microscopic appearance of these particles and those seen in bone tumors produced by radiostrontium; and,
Enhanced production of bone tumors in animals pre-treated with the virus, then exposed to radioactive strontium (90Sr).
"We have yet to complete the crucial experiments to prove this idea," Miriam P. Finkel, PhD, told JAMAMedical News. "But the idea of these tumors having the same or similar etiologies is intriguing."
The currently-confirmed virus is called "FBJ," the last name initials of Dr. Finkel and her co-workers, Birute O. Biskis, MD, and Patricia B. Jinkins, BS.
The virus was isolated