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Mouse Study Points to Potential for Messenger RNA-Based Vaccines Targeting HPV-Positive Tumors

In Science Translational Medicine, investigators at the University of Sao Paulo, the University of Pennsylvania, and other international centers present findings from mouse model studies of several messenger RNA (mRNA)-based vaccines developed to target human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive tumors. After administering individual shots of low-dose vaccines comprised of self-amplifying, unmodified, or nucleoside-modified, nonreplicating forms of the mRNA-lipid nanoparticles targeting the E7 oncoprotein of HPV-16, the team saw activation of CD8-positive T cells targeting E7, along with memory T cell activity that prevented or staunched tumor growth in mice with HPV infections or HPV-associated tumors. In addition, the authors say, the HPV-targeting mRNA vaccine approach appeared to compare favorably to previously reported DNA- and protein-based vaccine approaches. "Collectively, we demonstrated the immunogenicity and therapeutic efficacy of three different mRNA vaccines in extensive comparative experiments," the authors report. "Our data support further evaluation of these mRNA vaccines in clinical trials."