Inovio vaccine targets head and neck HPV subtypes

There is a lot of focus, both in research and in the media, on the subtypes of the human papillomavirus (HPV) HPV16 and HPV18. Perhaps this is rightly so, because these are linked with cervical cancer, and vaccinating could make this at least to some degree a preventable disease. However, other subtypes are also linked with serious disease, and Inovio ($INO) has early preclinical results on a therapeutic vaccine for subtypes HPV6 and HPV11, which cause recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (benign growths in the throat that can lead to cancer) and genital warts, and are linked with head and neck cancer, lung cancer and cervical cancer.

Inovio has created a SynCon DNA vaccine against HPV6 and HPV11, which, in a preclinical trial published in Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, triggered a strong immune response in mice. Inovio also has a SynCon DNA vaccine, known as VGX-3100, in a Phase II trial for the treatment of cervical dysplasia. This targets HPV16 and HPV18. SynCon vaccines are delivered using electroporation--after injection, very small electrical impulses open "holes" in the cell membrane to allow the DNA into the cell.

"Our goal is to create a family of therapeutic vaccines targeting most significant diseases caused by HPV infection, including cervical cancer and dysplasia, vulvar dysplasia, head and neck cancer, and other cancers," said Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio's president and CEO. " Importantly, our clinical experience with VGX-3100 may also help streamline the regulatory path for these related vaccines."

- read the press release
- see the abstract

Special Report: VGX-3100 - 10 promising therapeutic vaccines

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