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Mass production of human papillomavirus could lead to gains against cervical cancer

s, to study their effects on the virus's ability to infect its target cell," said Ahlquist.

Importantly, said Ahlquist, the system successfully produces multiple types of HPV. "We found no specificity of this technique, and there appears to be no reason this method cannot be extended to other subtypes," he said.

The researchers plan to use their production technique to study the early process of infection and to search for vulnerabilities in that process, said Ahlquist. "The early stages of infection -- before the virus becomes established -- could be a very important phase for intervention," he said.

Ahlquist also said that the production technique could offer a way to screen for HPV antiviral drugs and could lead to enhanced vaccines that consist of live attenuated virus. "Current vaccines in clinical trials consist of capsid proteins and trigger an immune response to those proteins," he said. "However, in its earliest stage, papillomavirus does not express those proteins, making the virus invisible to that immune response.

"A sufficiently non-virulent, attenuated virus that would express early gene products could raise additional immune responses against the virus in other stages of its life cycle." Such a vaccine, he suggested, could offer further important advantages against HPV and its associated cancers.


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Source:Howard Hughes Medical Institute


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