957-Helicobacter pylori

Course # DL-957: A Bacterial Carcinogen - Helicobacter pylori

by Lucy Treagan, Ph.D. - Prof. Biol. Emerita - University of San Fancisco - San Francisco, CA

Approved for 2.0 CE
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate

Introduction & Historical Background:

Infection with Helicobacter pylori is one of the most common bacterial infections of humans. The infection is generally acquired early in life and has a particularly high incidence in countries with poor hygiene conditions. The bacterium colonizes the gastric mucosa leading to a life-long infection. A minority of infected individuals develop serious gastrointestinal diseases: chronic gastritis, gastroduodenal ulcers, adenocarcinoma, and lymphoma.

Extensive seroepidemiologic studies have shown an increased risk of gastric cancer in persons infected with H. pylori. Based on such studies the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified H. pylori as a type I carcinogen in 1994 (1).

The association of H. pylori with the development of gastric and duodenal ulcers has had a profound impact on the diagnosis and treatment of upper gastroduodenal diseases; gastric ulcer is now regarded an infectious disease that can be controlled with antibiotic treatment.


Upon completion of this course the participant will be able to:

  • Describe the principal characteristics of Helicobacter pylori and its habitat
  • Outline methods of isolation and identification
  • Explain the role of Helicobacter pylori in human disease
  • List suggested treatment protocol
  • Describe virulence factors and discuss host response to infection
  • List diagnostic methods currently in use
  • Explain the epidemiology of infection in underdeveloped and in developed countries
  • Discuss the current prevalence of infection and future trends
  • List animal models of infection
  • Outline the current status of vaccine development


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