Currently, researchers have been able to produce a vaccine against this virus, but are looking for alternative ways to prevent it.
Statistics show that over 300,000 women worldwide lose their lives annually because of some form of cancer caused by human papilloma virus (HPV). Currently, researchers have been able to develop a vaccine against this virus, but a team of researchers at the Yale University Cancer Research Center (YCC), United States of America, has conducted a study to identify an alternative way in which it can getting “infected” with this virus, he notes Medicalxpress.
Scientists have created a new method by which the virus can be stopped from infecting the cells of the host organism with the help of protein fragments. They also believe that this new method could be adapted to other viruses or non-viral diseases for which there are currently no suitable drugs.
“We show that very short peptides (no. Fragments of a protein) can block the infection of cells with the HPV virus,” explains Dr. Daniel DiMaio, deputy director of the YCC and professor of biochemistry, therapeutic radiology and molecular biophysics. He adds: “This research confirms our projections about how HPV infects cells. It also shows that intracellular virus trafficking could be the target for a new anti-viral approach. ”
Studies have shown that HPV uses a number of proteins to enter human cells, more precisely a sequence of six amino acids. According to Dr. DiMaio, this means that the progression of the infection could be stopped with the help of a sequence of three amino acids. “We realized that we can synthesize a short peptide that should be sufficient to pass through the cell membrane, to bind the retromer and to block the infection, so we decided to test that,” says the researcher.
The researchers tested their theory with the help of cell cultures, but also on model animals, in this case the rats. These experiments revealed the effectiveness of the approach.
The study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.