According to joint British – Canadian research, a drug called lopinavir is able to combat the effects of human papilloma virus, also known as HPV. This is a virus that is sexually transmitted and is known as the most common cause of HIV infection in the world.
There are many reported cases of both throat and mouth cancers caused by HPV after sexual intercourse. In the UK alone there are 3,000 women who get HPV each year and 900 deaths are known to be provoked by this disease.
Lopinavir goes directly to the infected cells and completely destroys them while being completely harmless to the healthy ones. This is what intrigued scientists from both countries.
Doctor Ian Hampson from the University of Manchester as well as other scientists said: “This is a very significant finding as these cells are not cancer cells but are the closest thing to being like the cells found in a pre-cancerous HPV infection of the cervix. In addition we were also able to show that lopinavir kills these HPV-infected cells by re-activating a well-known antiviral system that is suppressed by HPV.”
Dr. Hampson believes that in order for the treatment to be successful, the drug needs will be given to cancer patients in doses 10 or even 15 times larger than the usual ones taken by HIV patients. The full medicine will be given as cream instead of usual tablets.
Dr. Lynne Hampson, who also contributed to the research, also believes there are encouraging results coming from this particular drug. She said:
These results are very exciting since they show that the drug not only preferentially kills HPV-infected non-cancerous cells by re-activating known antiviral defence systems, it is also much less toxic to normal non-HPV infected cells.
The research made by Dr. Hampson and his colleagues is already published in Antiviral Therapy. Scientists revealed the fact that there still are no successful tests as there weren’t any reported cases of complete recovery among female patients. The final medicine will be very expensive and it appears that it will not be available to less developed countries.