Ranpirnase, a drug that has been used for over 28 years to treat mesothelioma has been shown to completely clear warts caused by HPV( Human Papilloma virus) types 6 and 11, the most common strains that cause genital warts. This is very exciting news as the treatments we currently have for HPV  doesn’t always clear up the HPV infection, leaving patients at risk of getting recurrences. It also helps that the drug has been used for such a long time, which means that a lot is known about the safety profile.

Ranpirnase works by getting absorbed by human cells and then shutting down the RNA synthesis which prevents viruses from replicating. The drug also shows promise in treating other viral ilnesses such as Ebola. The study was conducted by Dr Eric Daniels at Tamir Biotechnology who found that ranpirinase inhibited the replication of HPV in cultured human cells. They then devloped a lotion which was tested succesfully on a human cadavar and it was found to penetrate the area well and didn’t cause any irritation. The lotion was then offered to patients with external genital warts and they were advised to apply the lotion twice a day. The patients were evaluated weekly for a period of 8 weeks. After 4 weeks 30.8 % of patients had no visible warts and amazingly at week 8 none of the patients had any visible warts. The had all achieved complete remission.

The only side effect was mild irritation in one of the patients.

The team is planning to commence a phase 1/2 trial in more patients this year to evaluate recurrence rate and also to measure viral loads in patients . The current drug was only tested in HPV types 6 and 11 and further studies will be needed to evaluate its effect on other more serious types of HPV but given the effect that genital warts have on patients who suffer with them, even if it just treated these two types of HPV it will be a  major advance.