News Feature | February 19, 2014

HIV Drug Tabbed With Prevention Of Cervical Cancer

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By Marcus Johnson

The HIV drug lopinavir has been studied by researchers looking for its effects on certain cancers. A University of Manchester study found that lopinavir was extremely successful at fighting cervical cancer—the drug killed HPV, or the pre-cancerous cells, in about 90%of women. Unlike other cancer treatments, lopinavir was not found to have any side effects. Photos of patients at the end of the study showed a reduction in the size of cervical lesions.

Lopinavir is a relatively common HIV drug, which makes researchers optimistic about its potential as a new cancer drug. Its status as side-effect-free makes it a more appealing choice than invasive surgery because women can take the drug at home. Dr. Ian Hampson, involved in the study, felt that the drug could help women in poor nations. “It is our hope that this treatment has the potential to revolutionize the management of this disease most particularly in developing nations such as Kenya,” said Hampson.  “For an early stage clinical trial the results have exceeded our expectations. We have seen women with high-grade disease revert to a normal healthy cervix within a comparatively short period of time. We are convinced that further optimization of the dose and treatment period will improve the efficacy still further.”

HPV is very common in developing countries and it is responsible for the deaths of nearly 300,000 women each year around the globe. HPV can also cause cancers of the mouth and throat in both men and women.