Micro-immunotherapy to treat HPV
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Human Papillomavirus (HPV): Supporting Antiviral Defence through Micro-immunotherapy

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What Are Human Papillomaviruses (HPVs)?

Human Papillomaviruses (HPVs) are small, non-enveloped, double-stranded DNA viruses that infect epithelial tissues, including the skin and mucosa. Exclusive to humans, HPVs require a host organism for proliferation, typically spreading through direct skin-to-skin contact, particularly during sexual activity.

HPVs trigger inflammatory responses and induce changes in affected skin and cells, contributing to their pathogenic effects.

With over 200 identified types, HPVs exhibit varying degrees of risk and oncogenic potential. While some strains are benign, others, notably the high-risk types, such as HPV 16 and 18, pose a significant threat, potentially leading to cervical cancer with persistent infection.

Human Papillomavirus Infections: Prevalence and Risk Factors

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection stands as one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted infections globally. Particularly common among sexually active young women, cervico-vaginal HPV infection exhibits a prevalence ranging from 60% to 80%, influenced by age and associated risk factors.

For the majority of infected individuals, viral clearance occurs naturally within a span of two years. Low-grade intraepithelial lesions regress spontaneously in over 80% of cases, especially among younger patients, typically resolving within an average timeframe of 8 to 16 months.

Nevertheless, the presence of high-risk HPV types (HR-HPV) has been linked to the development of invasive cervical cancer, underscoring the importance of early detection and preventive measures.

The risk factors for infection and carcinogenic progression include:

  • Number of sexual partners
  • Age at first sexual intercourse
  • Smoking
  • Other infections (Chlamydia, herpes simplex, HIV)
  • Using a condom
  • Alcoholism
  • Primary or secondary immunodepression
  • Chronic inflammation

It’s noteworthy that a significant proportion (20-30%) of infections occur before the age of 30. HPV transmission primarily occurs through sexual contact, including genital or oral routes. While condom use can reduce the risk of infection, it does not offer complete protection against the virus.

Often, an active HPV infection is associated with having many sexual partners or having cheated on one’s partner. This is a misconception as both partners can have HPV even in a committed and faithful relationship. It is impossible to determine who was infected first or how long ago the infection occurred, and it does not affect the course of the infection.

Human Papillomavirus Infections: Transmission

HPVs are transmitted through skin contact. For example, it is possible to become infected through handshakes or walking barefoot through the swimming pool. Presumably, the viruses enter the body through small injuries or cracks in the skin. This often manifests as warts on the skin.

HPVs can also be transmitted through skin contact during sexual intercourse: the viruses enter the body and then infect the mucous membranes. This usually results in temporary changes to the mucous membrane tissue in the cervix, which often regress in many cases. However, in some women, the viruses persist in the mucous membrane for many years and can lead to tissue changes and cervical cancer.

HPVs and the Immune System

Cervical cancer is almost always preceded by an infection with human papillomaviruses (HPV). There are approximately 200 different types of HPV, with 12 of them considered carcinogenic. Types 16 and 18 are responsible for about 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. However, from the time of infection to the onset of cancer, an average of more than 15 years elapses. Every year, approximately 4,600 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. About 1,600 women die annually from this disease.

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

An HPV infection often goes unnoticed since the immune system deals with the pathogens before symptoms appear. Cervical cancer also does not usually cause noticeable or visible symptoms in its early stages. The tumor develops over several years without major signs. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to even the smallest changes and discuss them with your gynecologist, including:

  • Unusually colored or odorous discharge
  • Bleeding between menstrual periods
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Bleeding during or after intercourse

An advanced tumor in the cervix manifests through the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the lower abdomen, lower back, and pelvis
  • Pain during urination
  • Swollen legs due to lymphatic blockage
  • Unexplained weight loss

All these mentioned signs can also be typical of many other conditions or diseases. Therefore, it may not necessarily be cervical cancer or a precursor. Nevertheless, it is important to have these symptoms evaluated early on.

HPV Infections: Treatment Through Micro-immunotherapy

Micro-immunotherapy is a therapeutic immunoregulatory approach based on state of the art immunological research and viral pathophysiology. The aim of micro-immunotherapy is to restore the immune response to its natural and optimum functioning and to support antiviral defences. It uses immune mediators, such as cytokines, growth factors, general nucleic acids (RNA, DNA), and specific nucleic acids in low doses so as to modulate the immune response in a gentle, targeted and sustainable way.

In the case of an HPV infection, micro-immunotherapy can provide valuable and gentle support for the immune system in fighting HPVs. Its aim is to prevent the replication and spread of the virus in the body, contributing to the elimination of HPV by the immune system. Micro-immunotherapy can also contribute to counteracting protumoral processes by favouring the antitumoral immune response in early stages of cervical cancer.

  1. Thomas, H. Cluzel, J. Lafon, J. Bruhwyler & B. Lejeune (2016). Efficacy of 2LPAPI®, a Micro-Immunotherapy Drug, in Patients with High-Risk Papillomavirus Genital Infection, Advances in Infectious Diseases, (6), 7-14.
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