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AAPS national biotechnology conference to highlight breakthrough cancer treatments

ARLINGTON, VA (May 3, 2011) Cancer studies from Mercer University (Ga.) headline groundbreaking research that will be unveiled at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists' (AAPS) National Biotechnology Conference (NBC). The conference takes place Monday, May 16 -Wednesday, May 18 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square.

Developing an Oral Vaccine for Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the world . Two preventative vaccines are currently available, but are expensive, require complex storage, and trained personnel to administer injections. A team at Mercer is seeking to change that by developing a nanoparticle based Human Papillomavirus (HPV) oral vaccine.

"The purpose of our study was to develop and test inexpensive HPV virus-like particulate vaccine formulations that can be administered orally much like a tablet or capsule," said Martin D'Souza, Ph.D., director of graduate programs and co-director of the Center for Drug Delivery and Research at Mercer. "If this technique is successful, vaccinations could be conducted in masses rather inexpensively and without the use of needles."

This research is currently in the formulation development phase and is being tested on an animal model. It is hoped that the study will help reduce the price of vaccine development for cervical cancer, helping make it more available to patients in poorer countries.

Promise Held for a Novel Combination Prostate Cancer Vaccine

Prostate cancer is the second-most common cancer among American men . The research team working on the HPV vaccine is also working on a prostate cancer vaccine that would be a combination of transdermal and oral administration.

"By using this vaccine we can assist the body's defenses to fight off the cancer," said D'Souza. "The vaccine also enables the body's immune cells to generate memory against these cancer cells, such that if [they] reemerge at a later stage, which is quite common, then the memory cells mount an immune response and destroy those cells as well."

Current studies in animal models showed that the vaccine delayed tumor growth, and that transdermal followed by oral vaccination produced a better response than transdermal vaccination alone. These particulate vaccines can be designed for individual therapy and aim to be more cost-effective since their production can be scaled up for mass vaccination due to the ease with which they are prepared.


Contact: Joseph Catapano
American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists

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