Thursday, June 05, 2014

HPV much more varied than once thought

Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have concluded that 69 percent of healthy American adults are infected with one or more of 109 strains of human papillomavirus (HPV). Only four of the 103 men and women whose tissue DNA was publicly available through a government database had either of the two HPV types known to cause most cases of cervical cancer, some throat cancers, and genital warts.

Researchers say that while most of the viral strains so far appear to be harmless and can remain dormant for years, their overwhelming presence suggests a delicate balancing act for HPV infection in the body, in which many viral strains keep each other in check, preventing other strains from spreading out of control.

"Our study offers initial and broad evidence of a seemingly 'normal' HPV viral biome in people that does not necessarily cause disease and that could very well mimic the highly varied bacterial environment in the body, or microbiome, which is key to maintaining good health," says the senior study investigator.

Moreover he says, "Much further monitoring and research is needed to determine how the various non-cancer-causing HPV genotypes interact with the cancer-causing strains, such as genotypes 16 and 18, and what causes these strains to trigger cancer."

The study results also highlight the weaknesses in current clinical test kits for HPV, currently designed to recognize only a dozen or more viral types most closely tied to cervical cancer. He says broader detection methods and comprehensive diagnostic tests are needed to more accurately assess people's "true" HPV infection status.

Bonnie: Curious as to how the HPV vaccine affects the delicate balance of HPV strains.

No comments: