A breakthrough may have been made in prostate cancer treatment if further investigation goes to plan, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of Utah and Columbia University medical schools believe they may have found a virus present in prostate cancer cells which, if it is identified as a cause of the illness, could mean new scope for medication and treatment strategies.
Dr Ila Singh, associate professor of pathology at the University of Utah and lead author, commented that the virus was present in 27 per cent of cases, but she warned people not to go overboard yet.
She said: "We still don't know that this virus causes cancer in people, but that is an important question we're going to investigate."
In the study, a virus, called xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus or XMRV, was also shown to be gammaretrovirus in their experiments, which is known to cause cancer in animals.
The report was published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a journal established in 1914.