Author: Liza Williams
ONE central project the scientists and doctors are working on is a vaccine for mouth cancer. Liverpool researchers have found some cases are caused by the HPV virus – the same bug which causes cervical cancer. They have discovered that two-thirds of tonsil cancer tumour samples showed evidence of the HPV-16 gene.
The work is particularly important because the researchers are also seeing the rates of tonsil cancer doubling in non-smokers and non-drinkers – two of the main causes of the disease.
They have found a DNA test helps to predict whether a patient has HPV. This could be used to decide which treatment is best for the patient, because both chemo and radiotherapy are more successful in patients with the virus.
They are now developing a clinical trial for a HPV vaccine for head and neck cancer, like the jab given to teenage girls to prevent cervical cancer.