Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New test for most virulent HPV strains under study

21.02.2007
A test for the two strains of human papillomavirus responsible for most cervical cancers is under study.

The molecular assay uses a cervical scraping, like that for a liquid-based Pap smear, to test for HPV types 16 and 18, responsible for 70 percent of cervical cancers, says Dr. Daron G. Ferris, family medicine physician and director of the Gynecologic Cancer Prevention Center at the Medical College of Georgia.

“Data from a National Cancer Institute trial shows that if you have a genital infection with HPV types 16 or 18, your chance of getting moderate to severe precancerous cervical changes or cancer is much higher than if you have one of the other types,” says Dr. Ferris, a principal investigator on the national study evaluating the assay.

The NCI study followed women infected with different types of the typically slow-acting virus over 10 years. It found women infected with type 18 had a 15 percent risk of cancerous or pre-cancerous changes after 10 years, those with type 16 had a 20 percent increased risk while those with the 11 other strains had a collective risk of 1-2 percent.

“Clearly, there is a big difference between HPV types 16 and 18 and all the other cancer-causing strains of HPV,” says Dr. Ferris.

The type-specific assay, developed by Third Wave Technologies, Inc., in Madison, Wis., is being tested along with an assay that looks for the presence of 14 types of cancer-causing HPV. A test that detects 13 types of HPV already is commercially available, so the new test could become the second non-type-specific HPV test on the market.

Dr. Ferris, who was involved in early studies of the HPV vaccines, hopes the new tests will one day provide better options for screening for the most common sexually transmitted disease.

The current national study is giving the new HPV test and the type-specific assay to 1,500 women age 30 and older with a negative Pap test and to 1,000 women age 18 and older with cervical cell changes of undetermined significance – pathologists call this most common abnormal result ASC-US – or higher-grade abnormalities.

“These are the two ways to use HPV testing,” says Dr. Ferris. “One is as a primary screening adjunct test with a Pap test for women age 30 and older and the other is as a triage test when women have an abnormal Pap smear result.”

An HPV test typically follows an ASC-US Pap smear which at best, is about 80 percent accurate, he says.

However, the HPV test, which is more accurate, has not become widely accepted as a primary screening tool for women age 30 and older, he says, citing cost and the tradition of Pap smears as likely factors.

“This new HPV test could lengthen the interval of screening for cervical cancer. If the new test is as good as the old one and if the HPV test is negative, there is only a 1 percent chance you actually have something wrong,” he says, noting that Pap smears really don’t add much to the equation.

Still, when he lectures around the country and asks for a show of hands of physicians using HPV tests in women over 30, few go up; he hopes that will change.

“I think it’s a possibility in the future that we won’t be doing Pap smears on women over 30; it might just be screening with an HPV test. A lot of experts are suggesting maybe that is the way we should go,” he says.

In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology already recommend HPV testing in all women over 30.

Women under 30 are another matter. Ages 15 to 25 are peak sexual activity years and peak years for HPV infection, says Dr. Ferris. Fortunately, the vast majority of the infections are cleared; ones that persist to age 40 are most likely to cause problems. “Seventy percent of patients clear the infection. The 30 percent who don’t, if they still have it by the time they are age 40, are heading down the wrong path,” he says. Less expensive Pap smears likely would continue to be used in the under-30 group to catch the few infections that become problematic in this age group.

Currently, there are not FDA-approved drugs to cure cervical pre-cancers and cancers caused by HPV, although centers such as MCG are evaluating potential therapies. Resulting cervical changes may be followed with frequent Pap smears or colposcopy, in which physicians can view the cervix and freeze, excise or vaporize significant cellular changes.

For more information about the study, call Study Coordinator Ansley Dennis in Dr. Ferris’ office at 706-721-2535.

Toni Baker | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mcg.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>