The field of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) research celebrates since the early 80's an annual conference in which recent results from basic research and the rapidly expanding clinical implications of HPV tests are extensively presented and discussed. Few disciplines in biology and medicine have experienced the expansion and the multidisciplinary that has characterised HPV research in the last decade.
An expected number of 800-850 experts typically contribute some 600-650 abstracts. The last European Conference was held in Sienna, Italy (September 1997) and next will be held in Barcelona, Spain in July 2000 (acronym HPV-2000).
Expected highlights at the HPV - 2000 conference in the basic sciences will include advances in the description of the structure of the PV capsid, characterisation and generation of chimeric PV capsids and studies on the cell surface HPV recptors (i.e. alpha-6 integrin).
Other areas of intensive research include cellular immunity studies, viral and host interactions and viral protein functions. In relation to the clinical implications of HPV research, conclusive results are expected from trials using HPV testing as a complement or as a stand-alone screening test.
Progress in HPV vaccine development will be a major topic, including developments in mucosal vaccines. Results are expected from early Phase I and II vaccination trials using either prophylactic (L1 based VLPs) or therapeutic (L1/E7 VLPs) products. Evaluation of novel HPV markers (i.e. quantitative PCRs, HPV integration and other genetic markers) as prognostic is another area in which progress is expected.