HIV drug stops cervical cancer in laboratory test

A commonly used HIV medicine may also help prevent cervical cancer and could be developed into an anti-cancer cream, early laboratory tests by British scientists suggest.

Researchers at the University of Manchester said on Friday that test-tube studies showed the drug lopinavir selectively killed human papilloma virus (HPV) - the virus that causes cervical cancer - as well as HIV.

Lopinavir belongs to a class of HIV drugs known as protease inhibitors. It is a key component of Abbott Laboratories Inc’s best-selling pill Kaletra.

Dr Ian Hampson and his colleagues in Manchester believe lopinavir could eventually be made into a simple cream or pessary, offering an alternative to surgery for women with precancerous lesions.

No clinical trials have yet commenced, however.

Results of the team’s early research will be published in next month’s issue of the journal Anti-Viral Therapy and will also be presented at the International HPV meeting in Prague on Sept. 5.

Merck & Co Inc and GlaxoSmithKline Plc have both developed ground-breaking vaccines to prevent strains of HPV that cause most cases of cervical cancer.

But Hampson said not all women would be vaccinated and not all lesions would be prevented by the new shots, leaving a role for non-surgical therapies such as his team’s proposed cream.

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: July 6, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.