Navigation Links
Researchers discover new weapon in fight against cervical cancer

Scientists at the University of Leeds have found a way to target and destroy a key protein associated with the development of cervical and other cancers.

The E7 protein is produced early in the lifecycle of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and blocks the body's natural defences against the uncontrolled division of cells that can lead to cancer.

Researchers at the University of Leeds' School of Molecular and Cellular Biology have synthesised a molecule, called an RNA aptamer, that latches onto the carcinogenic protein and targets it for destruction, significantly reducing its presence in cells in the laboratory derived from cervical cancers.

There are many types of human papillomavirus. Some are transmitted by sexual contact and associated not only with cervical cancer but also head and neck cancer. Although an increasing proportion of young women in the United Kingdom are vaccinated against the virus, most women in their mid-20s or older are not vaccinated and many may already be HPV positive.

"We therefore need to maintain screening and to develop novel therapeutic strategies," lead researcher Dr Nicola Stonehouse said. "Currently, if you have advanced cervical cancer or head and neck cancerboth of which are associated with human papillomavirusyou really have little choice but surgery. If we can use this aptamer to target the carcinogenic protein, we might be talking about much less radical surgery in the future."

Aptamers are a relatively new tool for molecular biologists and a topic of intense research interest. Like the much better understood antibodies, aptamers can identify and target other molecules as well as viruses and bacteria. However, unlike traditional antibodies, they offer the possibility of insertion into live cells and can be artificially designed in the test tube.

The Leeds team, which received funding from Yorkshire Cancer Research and the BBSRC, was originally looking for an aptamer for use as a research tool.

"We were not trying to develop a therapy. We wanted to create better ways of looking at the virus infection because the current tools that we have are very limited," Dr Stonehouse said. "But what we found was that the aptamers caused the E7 protein to actually disappear. They seem to target it to be degraded. In a cell which is producing lots of E7 and is therefore dangerous, the level of E7 goes down if these RNA aptamers are there".

The new study is based on laboratory cell lines rather than real cancer cases, but the discovery of a molecule that targets one of the key proteins involved in HPV-related cancers raises the possibility of less invasive treatments.

The new aptamer might be used in the future to help stop residual cancerous material from re-establishing itself after surgery and therefore allow less aggressive approaches to surgery. The next challenge is to effectively target the new aptamer at real cancers.

The paper is published in the journal PLOS One.


Contact: Chris Bunting
University of Leeds

Related medicine news :

1. NIH awards $20 million over 5 years to train next generation of global health researchers
2. Researchers develop a new cell and animal model of inflammatory breast cancer
3. Researchers uncover a viable way for colorectal cancer patients to overcome drug resistance
4. Researchers Find Gene Mutations That May Be a Key to Autism
5. Researchers find evidence of banned antibiotics in poultry products
6. NJ stroke researchers report advances in spatial neglect research at AAN Conference
7. Autism by the numbers: Yale researchers examine impact of new diagnostic criteria
8. Researchers Map Brain Regions Linked to Intelligence
9. Researchers ID Genes That May Determine Mental Illness
10. Researchers Develop Blood Test for Depression
11. University of Cincinnati researchers win $3.7M grant from US Department of Defense
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 28, 2015 , ... There is only one major question facing all ... year? , This question has not been an easy question to answer. Especially when ... and the younger workforce don’t share the same discipline around working long hours. ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... the health care in America. As people age, more care is needed, especially ... are rising, and medical professionals are being overworked. The forgotten part of this ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Lizzie’s Lice Pickers just announced ... offering customers 10% off of their purchase of lice treatment product. In addition, customers ... According to a company spokesperson. “Finding lice is a sure way to ruin the ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 27, 2015 , ... Consistent with the Radiology Business ... Better Radiology Marketing Programs meeting will showcase some of the best 2015 ... Caesars Palace in Las Vegas with a pre-conference session on a collaborative approach ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... Health-E-minds, an innovative online platform for mental health and wellness consultation, has collaborated ... This partnership will bridge the knowledge gap experienced by parents and bring advice ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 27, 2015 Research ... of the "Global Intrauterine Devices Market 2015-2019" ... --> In this report, the author ... intrauterine devices market for 2015-2019. To calculate the market ... of following type of products: Hormonal IUDs and copper ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... PUNE, India , November ... --> ... / personal emergency response system ... grow steadily for 5 years ... growing region expected to see ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26 november 2015 AAIPharma Services ... geplande investering aan van ten minste $15,8 ... en het mondiale hoofdkantoor in ... resulteren in extra kantoorruimte en extra capaciteit ... groeiende behoeften van de farmaceutische en biotechnologische ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: