- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infections are most commonly
responsible for sexually transmitted infections.
- A drug screening system using genetic engineering was
developed to aid cure for HPV infections.
- The HPV drug screening assay system can help to
identify potential drug targets and treatment for HPV infections.
A new drug screening system could help
in identifying potential drug targets and treatment for Human papillomavirus (HPV)
, finds a study from Icosagen Cell Factory Ltd. and
University of Tartu, Estonia.
The scientists used
genetic engineering techniques to develop a drug screening system and the study
was published in PLOS Pathogens.
‘The newly developed HPV drug screening assay system will help in identifying novel drug targets and treatment for HPV infections.’
(HPV) contains more than 200 subtypes and may result in genital warts, to
throat and cervical cancer.
Around six million
people in the United States are diagnosed with HPV infections every year.
Even though physicians
and health care professionals are on the verge of developing new treatments to
cure HPV infection, there is still no specific treatment for the infection.
Developing a Cure for
Mart Toots and
colleagues of the Icosagen Cell Factory Ltd. and University of Tartu, Estonia
have developed a new method involving the use of a full HPV genome and three
stages of a viral life cycle, which can occur during HPV
The new drug screening
system was developed using genetically engineered HPV genomes by adding
which can code for bioluminescent proteins and allows easy
monitoring of the virus growth at any life cycle stages.
The reporter genes
enable the use of a high-throughput screening that can quickly test the
efficacy of many different chemicals on viral growth, which
can identify potential drug targets for HPV infections.
The new system was able
to demonstrate more than 1000 chemical compounds in HPVs grown in cells that
were derived from the human tissue. A number of compounds that blocked the
growth of some HPV subtypes were also identified.
Some of the compounds
also inhibited specific human cellular proteins, which are essential
for Human Papillomavirus to replicate inside the body. This finding suggested
that inhibiting the proteins can be a new target for the development of new
The authors said
that, "We are confident that the developed HPV drug screening assay system
will allow to identify several different novel drug targets and small molecule
"These could be
used effectively for elimination of cutaneous and mucosal low-risk
and high-risk Human Papillomavirus infections, therefore addressing serious
unmet medical need in the society, like benign and malignant HPV
positive epithelial tumors."
Interesting Facts on
- 80% of people
have Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infections, as they are transmitted
through intimate skin-to-skin contact, and can be passed from a
person who has no symptoms or signs of the infection.
- HPV usually cause
genital warts that are harmless and sometimes can
even lead to the development of cancers (cancer of the cervix, vagina,
anus, penis and even cancer of the throat and tongue).
- 70% of HPV
infections can result in cervical cancer. Specific HPV screening tests can
help to diagnose people who are at an increased risk of cervical cancer.
- There is no
specific treatment for HPV. However, vaccination can protect against HPV cancers.
- The Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two doses of
HPV vaccine for children between the age of 11-12 years to protect
against cancers caused by HPV.
- Toots M, Ustav M Jr, Männik A, Mumm K, Tämm K, Tamm T, et al. (2017) Identification of several high-risk HPV inhibitors and drug targets with a novel high-throughput screening assay. PLoS Pathog 13(2): e1006168. DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006168