When it comes to viruses, many people’s first impression is that they are harmful to human health without any harm. With the spread of cervical cancer vaccine, more and more people are beginning to understand that viral infections can also cause terrible cancers. In addition to the human papillomavirus (HPV) targeted by the cervical cancer vaccine, there are some common viruses that are potential lysing, such as the hepatitis B virus (HBV).
However, a common type of virus that lives on our skin seems to be not harmful to human health, but to the benefits! Scientists at the Center for Oncology At Massachusetts General Hospital have found that some “low-risk” HPV appears to indirectly protect us from skin cancer, according to a recent paper published in the leading academic journal Nature.
“This is the first time that there is evidence in both experimental models and humans that common viruses may have health benefits that are associated with cancer protection,” the study authors said. “
The first thing to note is that there is a difference between these low-risk HPV sweds and HPV targeted by the cervical cancer vaccine. To date, more than 170 types of HPV have been known, involving different clinical manifestations. Of these, only about 12 were classified as high-risk, such as HPV16, 18, 6, 11, which are associated with a variety of genital cancers, and some related to head and neck cancer and oral cancer. Existing vaccines can help protect us against these malignancies.
In addition, there are many other types of HPV, such as those studied by Dr. Shawn Demehri and colleagues, which are common symbiotic viruses inside and on the surface of the human body and are considered to have a lower risk of causing serious diseases. The most common manifestations of these low-risk HPV on the skin are common warts, warts and flat warts. Several estimates are that one in three school-age children is infected with skin-type HPV, which is widespread.
Past studies have suggested that the widespread presence of beta-type HPV infection in the population may be associated with the risk of some malignant skin cancers. In immunosuppressed patients, the risk of skin squamous cell carcinoma increased by 100 times. Naturally, some people speculate, is not the perennial lurking virus in the human body when the body’s immunity is low when it becomes a carcinogenic factor?
That’s the question the study wants to answer. While several studies have tried to link HPV infection to squamous cell carcinoma, none of them have shown that HPV actually drives the development of these common skin cancers, the study authors said.
And the results of the experiments they have obtained are the opposite of those of the past. Experiments using mouse models showed that mice with a complete immune system that was naturally immune to HPV, as well as those that were immune to T-cells, were able to fight skin cancer when exposed to ultraviolet radiation or chemicals known to cause skin cancer. This is because the peptide molecules of HPV can induce T cells to produce an immune response. Activated T-cells can effectively attack early skin cancer cells.
Cancer cells infected with symbiotic HPV (red) are attacked by immune cells (grey and yellow) (Photo: Jon Messerschmidt)
In addition to animal experiments, the researchers also tested human skin cancer samples, analyzed the presence and activity of 25 known low-risk HPV, and found that viral activity and viral load in skin cancer cells were significantly lower than that of adjacent normal skin, “indicating a strong immune selectivity for virus-positive malignant cells.”
For patients with a suppressed immune system, the risk of skin cancer is significantly increased, the researchers explain, because of the loss of immunity, not the carcinogenic effects of HPV.
Early skin cancer, which is symbiotic HPV,”dissofaragainstal HPV is like a wart for the immune system and can be effectively removed (Photo: Jon Messerschmidt)
Based on these findings, the researchers suggest: “Developing a vaccine based on T-cells for symbiotic HPV may provide an innovative way to enhance the skin’s antiviral immunity and help prevent warts and skin cancer in high-risk groups.” “
Finally, the researchers note that increasing the effectiveness of immunotherapy when using immunocheckpoint inhibitors to fight skin squamous cell carcinoma may further improve the effectiveness of immunotherapy. Perhaps in the future, with the power of symbiotic viruses, we can prevent and treat skin cancer more effectively.