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Cambridge Immunology Network



Human papillomaviruses (HPV) cause both benign and malignant tumours. It is the cause of the second commonest female cancer in the world, cervical cancer. It is also causally related to other cancers of the ano-genital region (such as anal, vulval, vaginal and penile cancer) and to a certain proportion of oro-pharyngeal cancers. The burden of non-malignant disease such as warts and recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (rare) is not trivial and impose significant morbidity on patients and large financial costs on health care systems.

The focus of our work is the immune responses involved in the persistence or clearance of HPV in HPV related disease. To this end, the HPV group in Cambridge study several different models of HPV related benign and malignant disease including anogenital warts, anal cancer and its precursor lesions (AIN), vulval cancer (& VIN), cervical cancer (CIN) and oro-pharyngeal carcinomas with the aim of translating clinically relevant data into better treatments for HPV disease, for the benefit of patients.

We are currently studying the natural history and prevalence of HPV subtypes in a large cohort of high-risk HIV+/- patients in West London, with appropriate control groups in both men and women. These prevalence data will be important in the tracking of HPV as the national prophylactic vaccination campaign commences this year. Furthermore, in collaboration with John Trowsdale (Cambridge), immunogenotyping of the KIR region will allow us to study the NK cell response. Local immune responses are being analysed by the use of laser capture and microdissection (LCM) of infected cells and infiltrating lymphocytes from clinical samples, and with subsequent analyses of DNA and RNA. We will obtain functional data regarding the cytokines and chemokines secreted at the site of infection. Systemic immune responses will be studied using PBMC, with a focus on the NK and NKT cells, testing the hypothesis that these innate immune responses will heavily influence the immune responses downstream.


Key publications: 

Stanley MA, Winder DM, Sterling JC, Goon PK. HPV infection, anal intra-epithelial neoplasia (AIN) and anal cancer: current issues. BMC Cancer. 2012 Sep 8;12:398.

Crawford R, Grignon AL, Kitson S, Winder DM, Ball SL, Vaughan K, Stanley MA, Sterling JC, Goon PK. High prevalence of HPV in non-cervical sites of women with abnormal cervical cytology. BMC Cancer. 2011 Nov 2;11:473.

Evidence for a causal association for HPV in head and neck cancers. Sudhoff HH, Schwarze HP, Winder D, Steinstraesser L, Görner M, Stanley M, Goon PK. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2011 Jul 27. 

Analyses of human papillomavirus genotypes and viral loads in anogenital warts. Ball SL, Winder DM, Vaughan K, Hanna N, Levy J, Sterling JC, Stanley MA, Goon PK. J Med Virol. 2011 Aug;83(8):1345-50. doi: 10.1002/jmv.22111. PMID: 21678438

Sensitive HPV detection in oropharyngeal cancers. Winder DM, Ball SL, Vaughan K, Hanna N, Woo YL, Fränzer JT, Sterling JC, Stanley MA, Sudhoff H, Goon PK. BMC Cancer 2009 15;9:440.

Spread of HTLV-I between lymphocytes by virus-induced polarization of the cytoskeleton. Igakura, T., J. C. Stinchcombe, P. K. Goon, G. P. Taylor, J. N. Weber, G. M. Griffiths, Y. Tanaka, M. Osame, and C. R. Bangham. 2003. Science 299:1713-6.

Takes PhD students
Available for consultancy


Departments and institutes: 
Person keywords: 
innate immunity
natural killer cells