New research sheds light on why cervical precancers disappear in some women and not in others. Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center report in the July 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research that the reason many of these lesions persist is an unlikely mix of human papilloma virus (HPV) strain and a womans individual immune system.
For decades, scientists have known that HPV causes nearly all cases of cancer in the neck of the womb. Most sexually active women – some reports say up to 80 percent – are exposed to HPV and more than half of these women are infected with strains of the virus that could likely turn a precancerous lesion to cancer. But only a small percentage of precancers progress to full-blown cancer, a process that takes years.
To find out why, gynecologic oncologist Cornelia Trimble, M.D., closely monitored 100 women with high-grade, precancerous cervical lesions before standard surgery to remove the abnormal tissue. Some of the lesions – about 28 percent -- regressed by themselves before surgery within a time period considered within the bounds of care standards. But among patients whose pre-cancers lingered, Trimble discovered that women were three times less likely to resolve their lesions if they carried a certain immune system gene and did not have HPV16, the most common strain of the virus.
Vanessa Wasta | EurekAlert!
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Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
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