Wisdom is the child of experience.
Leonardo da Vinci
The idea of publishing this special issue on HPV in Acta Cytologica was inspired by: (i) a lack of a compact treatise of HPV topics in the recent volumes of Acta, and (ii) the need to portray the current progress made in the translational research of this ancient virus, with its remarkable capacity to survive for over 300 million years, and its increasing impact on human health that has been recognized in recent decades.
Incredible scientific progress was evoked by the two ground-breaking papers of Meisels and Fortin  and Purola and Savia  published in Acta Cytologica in 1976/1977. These papers were instrumental in making HPV the most important oncogenic virus in humans. It is possible to cover the ever-increasing range of divergent HPV topics comprehensively only in the textbooks. There was thus a careful selection of topics when planning the contents of this special issue. We invited a selected group of authors with established publication record on HPV research to make contributions, with an attempt to maintain the balance between basic and clinical research, and not forgetting HPV epidemiology. The reviews that have been included address a wide range of characteristics by which this virus is recognized. They offer descriptions of how such a tiny virus with only a few genes and a few proteins is capable of having such a major impact on the malignant transformation of human cells.
We sincerely hope that this special issue of Acta Cytologica will aid in maintaining the interest in this minuscule dinosaur, that has already caused turmoil for the research profile of so many scientists and has had a profound impact on diagnostic and clinical practice in many different fields of medicine. As Guest Editor, I conclude by expressing sincere thanks to everyone who directly and indirectly contributed to the completion of this special issue of Acta Cytologica [3-11].
The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.