The protease inhibitor lopinavir - the primary component of Abbott Laboratories' antiretroviral drug Kaletra - selectively killed the human papillomavirus in laboratory tests, according to a study scheduled to be published next month in the journal Anti-Viral Therapy, Reuters reports (Reuters, 8/25).
Ian Hampson, nonclinical senior lecturer in gynecological oncology at the University of Manchester, and colleagues administered a dose of lopinavir about one millionth the amount taken orally to treat HIV/AIDS on cervical cancer cells in a test tube.
The researchers found that the drug selectively killed cells infected with HPV strain 16, which causes more cases of cervical cancer than any other strain.
According to BBC News, the researchers believe that the drug will work in eliminating other HPV strains and could be used to prevent cervical cancer in women living with HPV (BBC News, 8/24).
The researchers believe that lopinavir can be made into a cervical device or cream that could be offered instead of surgery for women who have precancerous lesions.
The study also will be presented at an international meeting on HPV in Prague, Czech Republic, on Sept. 5 (Reuters, 8/25).
"At the moment, we can't really offer anything to women with HPV and low-grade cervical disease," Hampson said, adding, "This treatment, if it works, could provide an alternative."
Laura-Jane Armstrong, science information officer for Cancer Research UK, said, "This is an interesting study, but the research has only been done on cells in the laboratory, and we don't yet know if it will work in humans" (BBC News, 8/24).