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March 04, 2019

Cancer-Causing HPV, or Human Papilloma Virus, Cured by Scientist Using Light Therapy

This is actually several weeks old but I didn't see the media give it much play. (I actually got this through a foreign news outlet.)

I think the media were too busy obsessing over Orangemanbad to notice that a major cancer-causing STD had been cured.

One thing: This article speaks of the HPV virus and the cancer caused by the virus as if they are the same thing. I don't understand this -- this may be 100% right, and something I just don't understand.

I'm going to write the way the article does and speak of both HPV and the cancer it causes as being equivalent. If anyone understands this, please let me know what's going on here.

It took 20 years, but a group of scientists south of the border has found a cure for the most prevalent infection that is found "south of the border." Eva Ramon Gallegos and colleagues at the National School of Biological Sciences in Mexico City have found a way to kill human papillomavirus (HPV) the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) using light. Depending on the severity of infection and the presence or absence of skin lesions, the therapy eliminated between 57.2% and 100% of the virus in infected women.

Here's how it works. The short version is that a chemical is applied to the area which is cancerous. The cancer cells take up this chemical and convert it to another chemical which is light sensitive -- and will take in light and heat up (I imagine) when exposed to light.

Then the area is blasted with laser light, which only the now-light-sensitized cancer cells can take up. The cancer cells absorb all that light energy and the light-sensitive chemical inside them moves to an excited energy state (as it has to do something with the energy it absorbed). This excited state is unstable and quickly reacts to form something called "singlet oxygen," which is itself toxic, and as it's inside cancer cells -- lethal to the cancer cells.

Because non-cancerous cells don't uptake the photo-sensitive chemical (or, rather, the precursor chemical which will be transformed by the cells into the photo-sensitive chemical), they're unharmed by the laser light.

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posted by Ace of Spades at 07:21 PM

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