Human Papilloma Virus(HPV) is a DNA virus that can cause skin & genital warts as well as cervical and osopharyngeal cancers. In the US, there is an increasing trend in cervical cancer in women and osopharyngeal cancer in men. To make things worse, there are no treatments available for HPV infection. Thus, HPV vaccines have become the most common mode of prevention for HPV infection and cancer development. It has been theorised that therapeutic HPV vaccines may prevent the development of cancers from HPV infection, which is more effective than the conventional prophylactic HPV vaccines. Covering the topic of Recombinant Lipoimmunogen-based therapeutic HPV Vaccine, Dr Levent Liu Shih-Jen from the National Institute of Infection Diseases and Vaccinology, National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan, gave an informative presentation which got the audience captivated.
The National Health Research Institutes(NHRI) is a non-profit foundation established by the Taiwan government in 1995. It is an autonomous research organization under the supervision of the Department of Health and is dedicated to the enhancement of medical research and the improvement of health care in Taiwan. Researchers conduct mission-oriented medical research in the areas of aging, cancer, infectious diseases, mental disorders, occupational diseases and health policy. NHRI currently collaborates with medical centers, hospitals and universities in Taiwan, research institutes all over the world as well as the National Institute of Health, USA. National Institute of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology conduct research on important infectious diseases such as HPV, HIV, Hepatitis B, Epstein-Barr Virus and Influenza B. In addition, they also engage in policy implementation and training programmes for medical personnel. Dr Liu’s research interests are the discovery of human cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) epitopes to develop therapeutic vaccines and studies of the molecular mechanism of novel adjuvants. His published work in recombinant lipoprotein technology in vaccine development has won numerous awards and honours and received several patents.
As compared to prophylactic HPV vaccines, therapeutic HPV vaccines are more effective in preventing cancer development by killing off HPV infected cancer cells through CTLs. As background information, Dr Liu covered the mechanisms of antigen presentation to CTLs and the current clinical trials for immunotherapy in HPV-induced lesions, zooming into the status of different vaccine types. He then introduced the theory behind recombinant lipo-immunogen technology, as well as its direct effects, therapeutic effects, induction of responses, effects on tumor infiltration and inhibition of other molecules.