Papilloma viruses in baboons and their linkage to the development of cervical cancer.
Ouko, Abigael A
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Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer mortality in women worldwide, yet few suitable animal models currently exist for study of this disease. Virtually all cases of cervical cancer in women are caused by specific types of genital human papilloma viruses (HPVs). This study aimed at investigating the presence of papilloma virus (PV) in baboons (Papio anubis). It also aimed at finding out whether PVs cause cervical cancer in baboons. In the study a total of 33 adult female baboons were investigated. The presence of the virus in the 33 baboons was determined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using general primer (Gp) pair Gp 60/Gp 124. The animals were also screened for the presence of cervical cancer using the Pap smear test. PCR amplifications of the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) extracted from the cervical cells produced PCR products of about 100 base pairs (bps) to 400 bps. The fact that these products were produced indicated the presence of PVs in baboons. However results from Pap smear test did not reveal any relationship between PV infection in baboons and cervical cancer development. This study is not conclusive enough and further screening of about 100 adult female baboons is required and the PCR products sequenced for verification of product identity. The animals under study should also be followed up for about 3-5 years and studies such as immunohistochemistry be carried out together with Pap smear and PCR.