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Fruit Flies Play Role in Fighting Cancer in New Studies

Posted On: 08-19-2016
Fruit Flies Play Role in Fighting Cancer in New Studies
A team lead by researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia have discovered that fruit fly models are helping scientists to understand the underlying mechanism that results in the human papilloma virus (HPV) contributing to cancer.

HPV continues to be one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the United States. It has also been determined to be a cause of cervical cancer.

According to a new report in PLos Pathogens, researchers have completed studies on fruit flies with a condition mimicking a form of cancer induced by HPV. The fly models are helping scientists to understand the pathways involved in malignancy that is caused by HPV.

This current study has built off of previous studies, which showed that HPV enters the body and produces oncoproteins, which transform a normal cell to a cancerous cell. One of these oncoproteins in particular plays a role in the later stages of tumor development. This oncoprotein, known as E6, was introduced into fruit flies. However, cancer only developed once two additional proteins were introduced—following the same pattern that the proteins do in humans.

This finding means that scientists can now use fruit flies in order to find therapies for cancers caused by HPV.

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