Human papillomavirus(HPV) infection is one of the known causes of sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the world As of today, nearly 200 distinct HPV types have been identified. Though, HPV infection can affect at any age group of people, the majority of HPV infection occurs more frequently among young adults aged 16-28. The most significant risk factor for HPV is sexual behaviour. HPV is usually transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual. HPV infections can lead to a wide range of diseases in humans since they use human cells to survive and spread to other hosts. Generally, a good immune system will prevent most of these infections from persisting, but certain will remain in the body and can cause diseases ranging from various skin lesions such as genital warts, to various cancers such as cervical cancer, vulvar cancer, vaginal caner, anal cancer, head and neck cancers.HPV can also be transmitted even when an infected person has no symptoms or signs.
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 79 million people in the USA are already infected with HPV, and about 14 million new cases of HPVs are reported each year (www.cdc.gov).
To date, there is no specific therapy for effective treatment of HPV. Various HPV vaccination programs for young girls can prevent exposure to certain carcinogenic HPV isoforms in young females. Vaccines, however, do not protect against all types of HPV. In most countries, boys are not included in vaccination programs, and the vaccine is not clinically useful for people who have already been infected.
Warts are the most common dermatological benign lesions caused by HPV in the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). Depending on the appearance and location, warts are classified into common warts, plantar warts, flat warts, and genital warts. Common warts typically present on the fingers and hands and comprise up to 70% of cutaneous warts. Alternatively, plantar warts occur on the soles or toes of the foot, while flat warts may be present on the face or hand and those that occur in the genital area are called genital warts.
Genital warts or condyloma acuminatum is very common among sexually active adults. When the infection occurs in the anogenital area, the first stage in its development is a precancerous skin lesion, an identifiable local sign (abnormality) on the skin. If this lesion is left untreated, it has an increased risk of further developing into “invasive” cancer. There are approximately 150 types of HPV, about 30 of which have been associated with cancer in genital and anal areas.
Currently, there is no specific therapy available for effective treatment of HPV-Genital Warts and Pre-cancerous Lesions.
A common denominator of all HPV genotypes are the E6 and E7 proteins (critical disease-causing components of HPV). We have developed a new therapeutic strategy comprising bioactive anti-HPV compounds that target HPV by depleting E6 and E7 with exceptionally high specificity to the infected cells. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on a successful therapeutic strategy to specifically target HPV, and this innovation has a broad IPR portfolio.
The development of Anison’s dermal product technology stems from the success of the Business Finland-TUTLI funded projects aimed at developing and commercializing innovative ways of tackling Human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated warts. Since our technology specifically targets the root cause of HPV, it is currently placed in a unique position as no other known treatment possesses the same precise vector aimed at targeting the HPV. The development of our innovation into a medicinal product could be useful not only for treating genital warts, but also for treating other HPV-driven pre-cancerous lesions and other warts, since there is no specific treatment available in the market for treating HPV associated diseases.