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Chinese Scientists Develop A New Generation Of HPV Vaccine, Which Is Expected To Prevent 99% Of Cervical Cancer
Jan 10, 2019

Human papillomavirus (hereinafter referred to as HPV) is mainly transmitted through sexual contact. At present, more than 200 types of HPV have been identified, which are classified into high-risk type and low-risk type. At least 18 of the high-risk HPVs are associated with 99% of cervical cancers.


Cervical cancer is a common malignant tumor that is a serious threat to women's health, second only to breast cancer. At present, the nine-valent cervical cancer vaccine, which has been developed by American pharmaceutical companies, has the widest protection scope and can prevent the infection of seven high-risk types and two low-risk types of HPV, that is, about 90% of cervical cancer.


However, it is unclear whether widespread immunization with a similar vaccine will cause an increase in the rate of other cancer-associated viruses, resulting in the remaining 10% of cervical cancer. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a cervical cancer vaccine with a wider range of protection.


The existing first and second generation cervical cancer vaccines use "viral-like particles" similar to HPV natural virus particles as vaccine antigens. The virus-like particle is the re-assembly of the remaining material after removing the genetic material of the virus, and the structure still has the characteristics of the original virus, but has no ability to replicate and infect. Viral-like particles enable humans to produce an immune response against the virus, thereby producing antibodies that provide good defense against human attack.


An HPV-like virus particle can only prevent one HPV type. If the traditional method is used to increase the preventive effect and cover more virus types, it is necessary to continuously increase the number of types of particles.


However, if you use this "one-on-one" method to create a vaccine that can prevent more than a dozen viruses, it will cause a large dose of vaccination and increase potential side effects, such as excessive intake of protein and adjuvant, which will result in vaccination. Pain, redness, and fever at the injection site also increase the complexity and cost of manufacturing the vaccine.


After six years of research, Professor Xia Ningshao from Xiamen University in Fujian Province has achieved key technological breakthroughs and developed an efficient vaccine that can protect more HPV types with fewer types of virus-like particles.


According to their genetic relationship, they divided 20 cancer-related HPV types (including 18 high-risk types and two low-risk types) into seven groups, and found that HPV types with close kinship have a common skeleton in structure. And different external details of the topography.


Xia Ning Shao believes that HPV virus particles and natural virus particles can be compared to a "sphere" in appearance. The lines, lines, bumps, depressions, etc. on the surface of the "sphere" are called "ring zones". Although the external appearances of different types of HPV are generally similar, the details of the protrusions and lines are significantly different.


Xia Ning Shao said: "It is precisely because of these different regions that the antibodies produced by each viral type stimulating human can not prevent other viral infections."


As a result, the research team designed a complex "chimeric viroid particle" using emerging structural vaccinology methods. It incorporates the "loop" characteristics of three types of HPV virus particles (HPV33, HPV58 and HPV52), allowing the previous virus-like particle to mimic only one HPV-type morphology and become a viroid-like particle. Simulate the morphology of three HPV types, that is, a new "sphere" with the characteristics of the previous three "spheres".


This also means that one HPV-like virus particle has the function of simultaneously protecting three HPV virus types.


Sure enough, after testing in mice and monkeys, the researchers found that the "chimeric virus particle" provided an immune effect comparable to that of the past "one-to-one" method with three types of virus-like particles.


In the same way, they succeeded in making four "chimeric viroid particles" on four other HPV types.


"Our research opens the way for the development of a new generation of HPV vaccines. It shows that only seven chimeric virus particles are needed to prevent cervical cancer caused by twenty HPV types." Xia Ning Shao said.


The research results have been published in the international authoritative journal Nature Communication.


Journal reviewers consider this to be “an amazing achievement” because the new vaccine reduces the type of virus-like particles required for vaccine antigens while increasing the preventable virus type, thus not increasing production costs. And difficulty, and reduce the occurrence of side effects. In a reply to the research team, they said, "I believe this new vaccine will go to the clinic."


There are three types of cervical cancer vaccines introduced in China, namely, divalent, tetravalent and ninevalent. Among them, the nine-valent vaccine is the most expensive. The price of each inoculation is 1298 yuan, and the total price of three is about 3894 yuan.


Xia Ning Shao said that the new vaccine will be suitable for women between the ages of 9 and 45, and the production cost will not be high.


Xia Ning Shao has long been engaged in the research of cervical cancer vaccine. His team developed the first domestically produced first-generation cervical cancer vaccine to be launched in China. The second-generation domestic nine-valent vaccine was also approved for clinical trials in 2017.


According to the statistics of the World Health Organization in 2018, there are about 570,000 new cases of cervical cancer in the world each year, and about 311,000 deaths. There are about 106,000 new cases each year in China and about 48,000 deaths.


In recent years, HPV vaccination has been promoted in China, and the government has provided free cervical cancer screening to tens of millions of rural women.

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