SINGAPORE, June 12 (Bernama) -- A team of scientists from A*STAR’s Institute
of Medical Biology (IMB) and Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) together with
clinicians from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have identified a
unique set of cells in the cervix that are the cause of human papillomaviruses
(HPV) related cervical cancers.
Significantly, the team also showed that these cells do not regenerate when
These findings have immense clinical implications in the diagnosis,
prevention and treatment of cervical cancer. The study was published in the
prestigious journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS),
Cervical cancer is the seventh most common female cancer in Singapore and
about 200 cases are diagnosed every year.
Dr Christopher P. Crum, Director of Women’s and Perinatal Pathology in the
Department of pathology at BWH, said: “It has been a decades-old mystery why
cervical cancers caused by HPV arise only from a discrete region of the cervix,
known as the ‘squamocolumnar junction’, despite the presence of the virus
throughout the genital tract.
SCIENTISTS-CANCER 2 (LAST) SINGAPORE
"The discovery of these cells finally resolves this mystery and will have
wide-ranging impact from developing more meaningful animal models of early
cervical carcinogenesis to clinical implications."
Dr Wa Xian, Principal Investigator at IMB, said, “Our study also revealed
that this exotic population of cells does not reappear after ablation by cone
This finding helps to explain the low rate of new HPV infections in the
cervix after excisional therapy and also raises the distinct possibility that
preemptive removal of these cells in young women could reduce their risk of
cervical cancer. This could be an alternative to current vaccines which only
protect against HPV 16 and 18.”