The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) was discovered in 1964. At the time, the very idea of a virus underlying a cancer was revolutionary. Cancer is, after all, not catching. Even now, the idea of a virus causing cancer surprises many people. But Epstein-Barr, named after its discoverers, Sir Anthony Epstein and Dr Yvonne Barr, is fascinating for other reasons too. Almost everyone carries it, yet it is only under certain circumstances that it produces disease. It has been associated with different, apparently unrelated, diseases in different populations: Burkitt's Lymphoma, producing tumours in the jaw, in African children; a nasal tumour in China; glandular fever in Europe and the USA; and the majority of cases of Hodgkin's Disease everywhere. This book tells the story of the discovery of the virus, and the recognition of its connection with these various diseases - an account that spans the world and involves some remarkable characters and individual stories.
Dorothy H. Crawford has been Assistant Principal for Public Understanding of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh since 2007. Her previous books include The Invisible Enemy (OUP, 2000), Deadly Companions (OUP, 2007), and Viruses: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2011). She was elected a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2001, and awarded an OBE for services to medicine and higher education in 2005. Ingolfur Johannessen is a Consultant medical virologist and senior lecturer, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and University of Edinburgh. Alan B. Rickinson is Professor of Cancer Studies in the School of Cancer Sciences at the University of Birmingham. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
Acknowledgements ; Preface ; Introduction ; 1. Out of Africa ; 2. The Eureka moment ; 3. Convincing the Sceptics ; 4. EBV in Africa - Burkitt lymphoma ; 5. EBV in Asia - Nasopharyngeal carcinoma ; 6. New Diseases - An accident of nature; an accident of medicine ; 7. Unexpected Arrivals ; 8. Prevention and Cure ; 9. Making Sense of a Human Cancer Virus ; References ; Further Reading ; Glossary ; Index