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A study from the University at Buffalo has shown promising results for a gonorrhea cure. The researchers found out more about how the gonorrhea infection works, and, using that information, were able to create a compound that could potentially reduce or remove infections entirely.
New information about the infection
The researchers found that the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea actually affects the entire immune system, which is why people are often affected by the disease multiple times throughout their lives, according to the study, published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
"We developed the concept that gonococcal infection seems to inhibit specific adaptive immune responses, which is, in part, why people can become infected with it multiple times. It turns out that gonococcal infection very cleverly controls the immune system, inducing responses the bacterium can fight and suppressing the responses that it cannot fight," said the study's senior author, Michael Russell, Ph.D., of the University at Buffalo.
This new understanding of the infection allowed the team to apply existing cancer treatments to gonorrhea. The cancer treatments normally stimulate the immune system to attack tumors, but these same immune responses can be used to fight gonorrhea.
The study found that the new treatment removed the gonorrhea infection within days in mice. Attempts to expose the mice to gonorrhea again were unsuccessful, according to lab tests. More research needs to be done to determine if the vaccine is appropriate for humans, but the researchers were optimistic.
Gonorrhea in humans
Gonorrhea affects the immune system those diagnosed with gonorrhea from STD tests. Those with gonorrhea are more susceptible to other STDs, including the human immunodeficiency virus. If untreated, HIV can progress to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, noted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Gonorrhea itself can also lead to complications when untreated. The disease can cause pelvic infections and infertility in women. Since the disease can be asymptomatic, it is important for those who may have been exposed to seek STD testing. For those looking for a discreet diagnosis of STD status for gonorrhea, chlamydia and other STDs, a lab test online may be the answer. These tests are as accurate as ones from a clinic or a doctor's office, yet can be done with a higher level of privacy.
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