Love & Sex

A Common HIV Treatment May Reverse Effects of Cancer-Causing HPV Virus

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With cervical cancer still an ever-present threat to women, this is a beacon of hope.

In the world's first clinical trial, a commonly-used drug to treat HIV has shown promising progress, but not the way you would think. A woman diagnosed with HPV-related cervical cancer was treated with the anti-viral drug and is said to have "returned to normal following a short course of the new treatment".

A study done by Drs. Ian and Lynne Hampson of the University Institute of Cancer Studies used the HIV drug lopinavir to treat 40 women in Nairobi, Kenya with "both high and low-grade pre-cancerous disease of the cervix." When taken orally and directly applied to the cervix, the drug treated the women's HPV and reversed the effects of the cancer. "The 40 women, who were all HPV positive with either high-grade, borderline or low grade disease, were treated with one capsule of the antiviral drug twice a day for 2 weeks."

The study attempted to prove the positive effects of the drug with an incredible outcome. "Out of 23 women initially diagnosed with high-grade disease," the study reported, "19 (82.6 percent) had returned to normal and two now had low-grade disease giving an overall positive response in 91.2 percent of those treated."

This advancement in the treatment of cervical cancer is a world-first, and may offer a light at the end of the tunnel to those suffering from one of the most common types of cancer in women.  While current HPV drugs aim at prevention rather than treatment, lopinavir could now be used to combat the disease. Surgery is currently the only option in the treatment of cervical cancer.

[h/t Science Daily]

Image via KWDesigns