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New Urine Test Promises Easier Screening for Cervical Cancer

Researchers have developed a new urine test that could simplify cervical cancer screening for women. This innovative test detects proteins produced by HPV 16, a cancer-causing strain of the human papillomavirus.

According to the National Cancer Institute, HPV strains 16 and 18 are responsible for nearly all cases of cervical cancer. The new test specifically identifies E7 proteins, which are closely associated with a high risk of cervical cancer.

"Our new urine test can detect HPV16 E7 proteins, which are critical markers of cervical cancer risk, at extremely low levels," explained Etsuro Ito, a biology professor at Waseda University in Japan and the lead researcher of the study. "This means that women may be able to screen for cervical cancer without the discomfort and inconvenience of a traditional Pap test."

The test showed promising results, detecting E7 proteins in 80% of women with Stage 1 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), a precursor to cervical cancer. It also identified the proteins in 71% of women with Stage 2 CIN and 38% of women with Stage 3 CIN.

"We believe that the E7 oncoprotein is critical in the early stages of HPV-related cervical carcinogenesis and may play a more significant role in the progression of CIN1 and CIN2 than in CIN3," Ito stated in a university news release.

The simplicity of a urine test could help overcome barriers to cervical cancer screening, thereby aiding efforts to eradicate the disease. "This new method holds great promise for early detection and prevention of cervical cancer," Ito said. "We are optimistic that further development and validation of this assay will lead to its widespread use in clinical settings."

The findings of this study were recently published in the journal Microorganisms.

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