Bovine Leukosis

Project Team: Antonio FacciuoloPhilip Griebel, Rob Stevens, Carla Norleen, Maria Christiuk, Sherin McDonald, Anne Van den Broeke (Institut Jules Bordet, Belgium)

Bovine leukosis, caused by bovine leukemia virus (BLV), is a production-limiting disease affecting Canadian dairy cattle and most dairy cattle herds globally. BLV is an oncogenic retrovirus that establishes a lifelong infection in white blood cells, specifically B cells. Substantial economic losses arise due to BLV-infected animals producing less milk, and can potentially lead to abnormal immune function. . During a long period of asymptomatic infection, 30% of cattle progress to persistent lymphocytosis and approximately ∼5-10% of those develop leukemia/lymphoma.

Our research focuses on understanding how BLV transforms B-cells and induces leukemia or lymphoma. This research will help us better understand BLV pathogenesis in cattle and support the development of a safe and effective bovine leukemia virus vaccine.