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The Pathogenesis of Human Papillomavirus in the Oropharynx

Award: ENT UK Foundation Grant 2021

Title: The Pathogenesis of Human Papillomavirus in the Oropharynx.

Project Lead: Sophie Wilkinson

Grant Amount: £750

Status: Interim Report



Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-mediated Oropharyngeal Cancer (OPC) is becoming increasingly more prevalent worldwide. The aetiology is not well established, but is believed to possess a similar carcinogenesis to Cervical Cancer, whereby HPV infects traumatised epithelium in the oropharynx, such as the reticular crypts within the palatine tonsil. The results of this histological study will prospectively characterise HPV infections within tonsils removed from patients undergoing routine tonsillectomy, and describe the natural history of HPV within the oropharynx, including the expression of biomarker targets.

Impact of ENT UK Foundation funding

With the financial support from ENT UK, we have been able to progress our lab work, and successfully apply for retrospective adoption onto the NIHR portfolio.

Current Status

Ongoing: we have used the grant to purchase PD-1 and PD-L1 antibodies, the staining has been optimised, and these sections are currently being reviewed by a pathologist.  As the full amount of requested funding was not awarded, we are still waiting for the in situ hybridisation of HPV within the sections to be undertaken; this will now happen in collaboration with the pathology department at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham.





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