The Roots of Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer causing proteins may be the new target for treatment

(RxWiki News) Current approaches to cervical cancer are focused on early detection. But screening methods may not be available to everyone. Targeting cancer causing protein research is gaining ground.

A recent study isolated a cervical cancer causing protein in mice and blocked it from working. The cervical cancer was effectively cut off at the source.

"Work with your doctor on a cervical cancer screening program."

Paul F. Lambert, PhD, professor of Oncology, and Sean Jabbar, PhD, researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, led the investigation.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) contains two cancer-causing proteins, E6 and E7, also categorized as oncoprotiens. Cervical cancer almost always contains these oncoproteins E6 and E7.

Previous research has shown E7 to be the stronger of the two proteins.

Dr. Lambert said, “In thinking of treatments, we wondered in this case if we could target just one oncoprotein, the most potent (strongest) one, rather than two, which would be much more complicated.”

Dr. Lambert led the team to induce cervical cancer and cervical cancer lesions in mice with E7 present. They were then able to repress the E7 protein, which resulted in a reversal of the cervical cancer and most of the lesions.

Authors said, “These data have important implications for the potential clinical use of drugs designed to inhibit the expression and/or function of E7 to treat HPV-associated cancers.”

Researchers hope to enter into clinical trials on humans soon.

In the U.S. cervical cancer screening tests are relatively accessible at clinics and doctor’s offices.

But, Dr. Lambert sees international implications for this kind of gene-silencing in developing countries.

“Cervical cancer is prevalent around the world in places where screening does not exist and surgery is not available.”

Further research is needed, but the future of cervical cancer treatment may involve killing off a gene or protein that causes the cancer in the first place.
This study was published in August in Cancer Research.

No funding information was available. No conflicts of interest were reported.

Review Date: 
September 27, 2012