Research is being conducted at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, on a novel approach for the treatment of cervical cancer through “gene silencing”, a method that targets and turns off a single gene in a cell:
Cervical cancer is caused by infection with the human papillomavirus and is the result of the over-production of two viral cancer-causing genes called E6 and E7.
The research team was able to turn off the production of these genes in cancer cells, resulting in the death of the cancer.
“Because these viral genes are foreign we can treat normal cells and they remain unaffected by our treatment,” Dr McMillan said [Dr Nigel McMillan, a lead researcher from the University of Queensland’s (UQ) Centre for Immunology and Cancer Research (CICR) -ed].
“Development of treatments for humans would be an advance over the current treatments, radiation and chemotherapy, which kill not only cancer cells but also normal cells that leads to hair loss and nausea.
“We envisage such treatment will be used for all forms of cervical cancer including the premalignant lesions picked up by the pap smear and especially for advanced cervical cancers where the cancer has moved to other sites such as the lung or liver.”
Dr McMillan said the research also showed gene silencing enhanced the effect of chemotherapy by up to four times.
He said the findings suggest a cancer-specific treatment for advanced cervical cancers will be possible either alone or in combination with current treatments.
The press release…