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HPV UNIT

Coordinator: Dr. Aldo Venuti, MD

Mission

Main mission is to formalize an organizational model of a “unified and coordinated space” in which originate jointly initiatives related to the topic of HPV This organizational model is a tool to inform, train and network both patients and health workers involved in HPV-related pathologies, from gynecological area to the skin, comprising ENT, urological and proctologic diseases. Finally, HPV-Unit is organized to deliver HPV vaccines to women and men.

Clinical Activities

HPV UNIT is involved in second level diagnosis of virus-associated cancers, detecting HPV, EBV and polyomavirus in skin, oral cavity, and genital/perianal areas. Main activity was focused on coordinating diagnostic interventions by clinical interpretation of molecular data from assay tests, advice in evaluation of clinical cases by clinical teams, outpatients counseling and advising in preventive actions like individual screening or HPV vaccination. Specific clinical activities of HPV-Unit are: HPV vaccination to women as adjuvant therapy after conization; HPV vaccination to adult men as prevention of HPV-associated cancer and as adjuvant therapy after treatments for condiloma. HPV-Unit/IRE is coordinating Center for a large multicentric (V503-049) study on HPV vaccine safety and effectiveness on prevention of oral cancer. 37 patients were enrolled according to the Experimental Protocol and a three-year follow-up was started.

Research Activities

Part of the scientific/informative activities of HPVUNIT is developing strategies for information addressed to the citizens and for permanent professional training. In particular, HPV-UNIT is organizing in partnership with International papillomavirus Society (IPVS) the International HPV awareness day to get information about HPV, as screening and prevention. HPV-Unit is actively involved in translational researches on: Molecular carcinogenesis. It was showed that beta HPV15 can interfere with NF-κB activity and apoptosis in human keratinocytes favoring transformation. Molecular epidemiology. For the first time, it was shown that detection of HPV16 E5 oncoprotein in clinical sample is of pivotal importance, since E5 mediates resistance to PD-L1 blockade and can be targeted with rimantadine in head and neck cancer. New immunotherapies of HPV-associated cancers. A genetic vaccines is patented in Italy and will be extended to Europe. A similar vaccine was also produced in plant roots showing new manufacturing possibility. Finally, the activities of plant-derived natural compounds in adjuvating HPV genetic therapeutic vaccines were described and highlighted.