Single Dose of HPV Vaccine May Protect against Cervical Cancer
A single dose of the cancer-fighting human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Cervarix™ appears to induce an immune
response that remains stable in the blood four years after vaccination. This may be enough to protect women from
two strains of HPV and, ultimately, from HVP-induced cervical cancer.
These findings were published in Cancer
Prevention Research and with the work of researchers from the Costa Rica HPV Vaccine Trial and the
Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research. The Costa Rica HPV Vaccine Trial is a long-standing collaboration
between investigators in Costa Rica and National Cancer Institute.
If these findings are confirmed in larger studies and for a longer follow-up time, it could mean fewer return
trips to the doctor’s office for booster shots, and lower overall costs. This could be especially significant
in developing countries where cervical cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer death in women and the
success of vaccination programs are more sensitive to cost and logistical issues.
Cooperative Research and Development
Frederick National Lab's Biopharmaceutical Development Program responded to an urgent need by manufacturing clinical supplies of a monoclonal antibody that proved effective in human trials and ultimately won approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for commercial use. The antibody, ch14.18, was shown to be effective against high-risk neuroblastoma, a cancer of nerve tissue that is relatively rare but one of the most common in young children. In a large clinical trial in 2010, the antibody proved effective, in combination with other drugs, in extending survival rates. Because the drug combination was so effective, the trial was modified to allow all enrolled children to receive the medication. As a bridge to commercialization, Frederick National Lab met the immediate need for supplies of the antibody, while at the same time transferring the technology to a commercial pharmaceutical manufacturer, United Therapeutics Corp., under an NCI Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA).
Collaboration yields commercial products.
Early in the AIDS epidemic it became evident that blood transfusion was a major
route of exposure with greater than 5000 people/year becoming infected with the
AIDS virus from blood transfusions. In 1984, soon after HIV-1 was discovered and
adapted to growth in cell culture, virus infected cells were transferred to contractor
scientists in what was later to become the AIDS Vaccine Program (AVP) at Frederick
National Lab, for the large scale production of viruses to be used in the development
of diagnostic blood tests. By the end of the first year, 131 lots of purified HIV-1
derived from >12,400 liters of cell culture were prepared. Accomplishing this task
was facilitated by critical unique technical infrastructure capabilities and expertise
at the Frederick National Lab (originally developed for the large scale propagation
and production of retroviruses for cancer related studies) and the flexibility and
rapid response capabilities afforded by the FFRDC organization. The Frederick National
Lab scientists provided large quantities of virus, virus-infected cells and technology
to the private companies that had received licenses to prepare HIV-1 assays. As
a result of this close interaction between the FFRDC contractor staff and the private
companies, commercial diagnostic assays were approved by the FDA within 11 months
of receipt of the virus infected cells at Frederick National Lab. Use of these assays
to detect and discard blood from infected individuals resulted in rapid decrease
of blood transfusion associated infections to less than 500/year.
Nanotechnology Gives Failed Cancer Drugs a Second Life
The Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory, part of the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer, is leading the way in medical applications of nanotechnology, including diagnostics, imaging technologies, and targeted cancer therapies. NCL is a national resource and knowledge base for all cancer researchers to assist in the regulatory review of nanotechnologies intended for cancer therapies and diagnostics. By providing the critical infrastructure and characterization services to researchers across the country, NCL accelerates the transition of basic nanoscale particles and devices into clinical applications to help cancer patients. In collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the NCL has developed protocols for the thorough characterization of nanoparticles, making them suitable for clinical studies. The laboratory accepts proposals from investigators nationwide, has fully characterized hundreds of nanoparticles, and has helped move a number of candidate drugs into human clinical trials. Current projects include reformulating cancer drugs that previously failed clinical trials because of excessive toxicity or other issues. For example, tumor necrosis factor, a potent killer of cancer cells, was shelved after clinical trials showed it was too toxic and unsafe for human use. NCL worked with CytImmune Sciences Inc., which reformulated this therapy with nanoparticles, causing it to zero in on tumors and spare the rest of the body from ill effects. The drug is currently being tested in a new round of clinical trials.