Cervical Cancer Vaccine Makes Phase II

Cervical cancer treatment vaccine in clinical trials uses immune cells to fight cancer

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Prevention is best, but trials for a treatment for existing cervical cancer are underway and showing good results. It will take a couple of years or more before it could be in wide use.

Results from a Phase I clinical trial for the cervical cancer treatment vaccine, VGX-3100, were successful enough to enter Phase II. This vaccine was designed to use the body’s immune response to go after cancer cells.

"Talk to your doctor about your cervical cancer treatment options."

Mark L. Bagarazzi, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc., was the lead author and principal investigator of the study.

VGX-3100 is a cervical cancer vaccine in Phase II clinical trials and will not be on the U.S. market for a few years.

There are two existing cervical cancer preventative vaccines on the U.S. market, but VGX-3100 is different in that it was designed to treat certain types of existing cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer and pre-cancerous lesions caused by Human Papilloma Virus 16 and 18 are targeted by VGX-3100. The vaccine sparks the growth of immune cells that can fight off those specific cancer cells associated with HPV 16 and 18.

Naturally occurring, cancer-killing immune cells called CD8+ T cells are activated with VGX-3100.

VGX-3100 is an injection that’s delivered with an electric pulse to trigger the formation of the CD8+ T cells. This delivery method is called electroporation.

VGX-3100 works like gene therapy or immunotherapy by using DNA to attach the vaccine to a patient’s cellular structure and boost the immune system.

The problem with the Phase I trial was the small sample population—18 women with cervical cancer.

Each woman was given three separate injections at varying dosages from 0.3, 1 and 3 mg of VGX-3100.

Side-effects from the vaccine were minimal and not serious. A few women complained about pain at the injection site for 10 minutes after the injections.

A total of 78 percent of participants had increased immune responses from the vaccine.

Further testing will be necessary to determine the effectiveness and safety of the VGX-3100 cervical cancer treatment vaccine.

This study was published in October in Science Translational Medicine.

Funding for this study was provided by the National Institute of Health. Several of the study authors, including the lead author, were employees of Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc., who also sponsored the study. 

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 10, 2012
Last Updated:
October 13, 2012