HIV treatment could cut cervical cancer say researchers

In collaboration with the Press Association

A treatment developed to fight HIV could be adapted to be used as a cream to fight human papillomavirus (HPV), the infection that causes cervical cancer, UK researchers have said.

Early-stage laboratory testing has shown that the HIV-management drug lopinavir can be used to kill HPV.

The oral drug could be turned into a cream able to kill HPV-infected cervical cancer cells selectively, say researchers.

Because the drug has already been extensively tested for treatment of HIV, if the treatment is shown to be safe and practical it could be available in just a few years.

"This is an interesting study but the research has only been done on cells in the laboratory and we don't yet know if it will work in humans," said Dr Laura-Jane Armstrong of Cancer Research UK.

"Currently, the best thing women can do to prevent cervical cancer developing is to go for regular cervical smear tests when invited."

HPV vaccines are currently being developed, but may only be properly effective for women who do not already carry the virus.

The research was carried out by the University of Manchester and published in the Journal of Antiviral Therapy.

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