The development of scientists from AltSU to determine oncogenic types of human papillomavirus (HPV) has entered the testing stage

17 October 2023 Department of Information and Media Communication
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The team of the Russian-American Anti-Cancer Center of Altai State University (RAACC), within the framework of the Priority 2030 Program, continues implementing the project “Method for species-specific identification of oncogenic HPV types based on multiplex real-time PCR.”

Scientists are collaborating with the Novosibirsk company Imbian Lab, which develops and produces medical test systems for diagnosing various diseases. They proposed developing a prototype kit for identifying oncogenic HPV types.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common viruses that infects the epithelium of the skin and mucous membranes. More than 190 types of HPV have been identified and described, but oncogenic types pose the greatest danger. They can cause cancer of the genital organs and oral cavity. According to WHO, from 50 to 80% of the world's population is infected with HPV, but only 5-10% of them have clinical manifestations of the disease. Therefore, it is possible to diagnose a latent (hidden) infection only using molecular biological research methods.

“We had to develop primers, that is, molecules that allow selective detection of HPV types using PCR tests. We have developed such primers for the 8 most dangerous types that cause cancer: 16, 18, 39, 45, 56, 68, 73, 82. Now our task is to determine how well they work, whether they give false positive results, etc.,” said Petr Kolosov, the project manager, acting director of RAACC.

A project participant, RAACC researcher Evgenia Kolosova spoke in more detail about the work done by the scientists:

“Despite the fact that this is one family of viruses, they have overlapping, that is, similar parts of the genome, and non-overlapping ones. In order to verify ourselves, we use one of the commercial test systems designed to detect HPV type 21. And what we see: three types are highly specific, they have a separate diagnostic kit, and all the other 18 types have common primers. That is, the doctor would tell the patient “You have one of these 18 types.” And for doctors, this may be enough. After all, there is no cure for HPV; in case of a positive result, a person can only carefully monitor his health and undergo regular examinations so as not to miss cancer. But it is very important for scientists to understand exactly what type was discovered, how it mutates, and how often it occurs, for example, in Altai Krai. This will be the advantage of our kit – the ability to conduct such an accurate testing.”

Focus on Altai Krai is another feature of the project. Scientists selected primers based on samples from a global database. But the tests are carried out on the material taken from residents of Altai Krai quite recently. The peculiarity of viruses is that they constantly mutate, and diagnostics must be updated and adjusted to these changes.

Let us remind you that the final result of the project will be a kit that can be used by both specialists in the clinic and patients independently. The test will be provided with detailed instructions and all the necessary materials, so a person can easily do the test at home.

The project will contribute to the introduction of scientifically based technology into medical and recreational institutions of Altai Krai, which will help reduce cancer occurrence.

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