This Is How HPV Causes Cancer

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rexusa_756131aPhoto: John Cummings/REX USA.
It's long been known that contracting HPV during your life can lead to an increased risk of certain forms of cancer — most notably, throat, cervical, and head and neck cancers. But, in a study released today out of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, researchers are revealing how, exactly, the virus harms our bodies.

"HPV can act like a tornado hitting the genome, disrupting and rearranging nearby host-cell genes," says David Symer, MD, PhD, one of the coauthors of the study. Researchers observed the ways that the HPV virus actually inserted itself into human DNA — effectively disrupting the normal functioning of the cells it invaded.

These changes produced cancer in a couple of different ways — either by causing overproduction of cancer-causing genes or the disruption and silencing of cancer-suppressing genes. This new research offers scientists an important window into the mechanism by which HPV — and possibly other viruses — cause disease. And, it highlights the importance in developing and promoting vaccines that can stop HPV before it even starts. (Eureka Alert)