May 9, 2011 by Deborah Sterescu
US-based vaccine maker Inovio Pharmaceuticals (AMEX:INO) reported Monday clinical data that showed the long-term immune responses induced by the company’s DNA vaccine for treating cervical dysplasia and cancer caused by HPV.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus responsible for most cases of cervical cancer. While roughly 70% of HPV infections are cleared by the body on its own, persistent HPV can lead to dysplasia, or pre-malignant changes in cervix cells, which can then progress to cancer.
The company said that the data was from a long-term assessment of the participants in the company’s phase one clinical study, which tested the VGX-3100 vaccine in 18 adult females with a high grade pre-malignant lesion.
During the study, 72% of vaccinated subjects developed antigen-specific T-cell responses during the first four months of treatment.
Eleven of the 13 subjects that developed this immune response were subsequently monitored through to nine months. According to the company’s results reported today, 91% of this group still displayed “strong and persistent” T-cell responses at nine months.
T cell responses are considered critical in clearing cancerous cells from the body, especially when the immune response is sustained and durable.
Based on the phase one study results, a phase two trial was recently initiated, and will enroll 148 patients at 25 centres in the US, Korea, South Africa, Australia and Canada.
According to recent research, every year, 510,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed worldwide. Current treatments are considered unappealing due to their potential for disfigurement, the perceived negative impacts on childbirth and emotional stress.
The company’s results were presented at the 15th annual conference on Women’s Health Care Issues, hosted in New York by the International Infectious Disease Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology.