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Early Detection Of Human Papilloma And Other Viral Infections

Date:
October 16, 2007
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Scientists have developed a new, amazingly sensitive method for identifying the earliest stages of infection with human papilloma virus (HPV), a common virus that can increase the risk of cervical cancer in women. The test also has the potential for early identification of infection with other so-called DNA viruses, which cause a range of diseases that includes genital herpes and hepatitis.

Scientists in Iowa are reporting development of a new, amazingly sensitive method for identifying the earliest stages of infection with human papilloma virus (HPV), a common virus that can increase the risk of cervical cancer in women. The test also has the potential for early identification of infection with other so-called DNA viruses, which cause a range of diseases that includes genital herpes and hepatitis.

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In the study, Edward S. Yeung and colleagues point out that the most sensitive existing test for viral infections has drawbacks. That test is the Nobel Prize-winning polymerase chain reaction (PCR), used to detect DNA in settings ranging from medical labs to crime scenes. PCR requires an initial step in which scientists "amplify," or copy, a DNA sample a thousand-fold before virus detection can begin.

However, amplification increases the risk of false-positives and false-negatives, especially when a sample has even a tiny amount of contaminants. Since over 50 million Pap smears are performed in the United States each year to test for HPV -- the leading cause of cervical cancer -- a fast, simple, accurate diagnosis is essential.

The new method skips the amplification step entirely, and yet can detect the presence of less than two copies of HPV per cell -- a level corresponding to very early infection. The technique, called single-molecule spectroscopy, could be easily integrated into the Pap smear method. "It can become a good clinical screening or quantification method for viral DNA in cells," opening the door to improved screening tests for hepatitis B, herpes and other diseases.

Article: "Single-Molecule Detection of Surface-Hybridized Human Papilloma Virus DNA for Quantitative Clinical Screening" Nov. 1 issue of Analytical Chemistry.


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The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Early Detection Of Human Papilloma And Other Viral Infections." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071015111653.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2007, October 16). Early Detection Of Human Papilloma And Other Viral Infections. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071015111653.htm
American Chemical Society. "Early Detection Of Human Papilloma And Other Viral Infections." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071015111653.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

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