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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Shock it To Me: The Newest Vaccine Approach

Since protection against HPV disease by vaccination cannot protect us all, nor protect those who already have the virus you may want to take note that there is hope that the adverse effects of the virus may be able to be treated by a therapeutic vaccine which is now being developed Inovio Pharmaceuticals.  Merck's Gardasil and GlaxoSmithKline's Cervarix vaccine both protect young women and young men against picking up the infection that can lead to a number of cancers. Most HPV infections will resolve, of those that don't most will only develop into pre-cancerous changes, but it is the cause of many cancers. These vaccinations protect against cervical, vagina, vulvar, penile, as well as head and neck cancers, and they are known as preventative vaccines. Therapeutic vaccines target those who have progressed beyond the state of just being exposed to a disease, but now have the disease. The Inovio vaccine is triggers an immune system response which will kill cells that cause cancer growth in those already infected by the HPV virus. The new vaccine still known by the code name VGX-3100,  beneficial immune cells called T cells that can kill the cells changed by the HPV virus. This study is encouraging because as of 2012 many other attempts at this have failed, in fact one such therapeutic vaccine for this indication made by French company Transgene SA that was formerly licensed by Swiss Roche Holding AG was discontinued from research. The Inovio vaccine has a trick to get the body to accept the immune boost electroporation: a brief electrical pulse that is described by the Reuter's story as being able to "coax[es] cells into opening their doors to the vaccine."

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