Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a virus which causes several types of cancer but is particularly associated with cervical cancer, has developed clever ways of hiding in the body, but researchers at the University of Leeds have found that its ability to trick the body’s first line of defence leaves it vulnerable to attack from a second defence system.
When viruses enter cells, they produce proteins to assist their growth and replication, and the body’s immune system is programmed to recognise and attack these non-native proteins.
Professor Eric Blair of the University’s Faculty of Biological Sciences and Dr Graham Cook from the Leeds Institute for Molecular Medicine have been specifically looking at one of the proteins produced by HPV, called E7, and have discovered that it suppresses markers on the cell surface, making infected cells much less visible to T cells, one of the body’s key defence systems.
“T cells can normally tell when there are molecules in the body that shouldn't be there and activate an immune response,” says Professor Blair. “But HPV uses the E7 protein to hide from them. We've always known the virus has clever ways of defending itself, but we now know how one of its main defence mechanism works.”
However, in a twist that offers hope for the development of potential new therapies for cervical cancer, Professor Blair and Dr Cook have also discovered that this subterfuge may be the virus’s downfall.
Cells without surface protein markers are targeted by another of the body’s white blood cell armoury, Natural Killer cells - cellular assassins, which when activated, release specialised enzymes into target cells to kill them.
“Despite the body’s valiant efforts to ward off the virus, women are still contracting this awful disease, so there are clearly other mechanisms at work. We need to look at the role of the other components of the virus, to see if they prevent the Natural Killer cells from attacking,” says Professor Blair. “For example, we’ve started examining the contribution of the virus protein E6, which we believe works in partnership with E7. The recent introduction of a vaccine against HPV is an important development in the fight against cervical cancer. However, it may take many years for the vaccine to reduce the number of cases of this cancer and other approaches to eliminating tumour cells need to be discovered.”
This research was funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research, the charity’s Chief Executive, Elaine King commented: “Human Papillomavirus is extremely complex with many mechanisms affecting how it operates. However, through this research we have discovered how the E7 protein works, which is a huge step forward, and will hopefully help us to develop effective ways to combat Human Papillomavirus in the future.”
Jo Kelly | alfa
Don't Give the Slightest Chance to Toxic Elements in Medicinal Products
23.03.2018 | Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)
North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | Universität Zürich
Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.
The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...
An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.
The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
23.03.2018 | Event News
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences
23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy