Potential HPV Vaccine Targets Cervical Lesions

toddSpring 2013

By David Robinson

mayumi-nakagawaWhat began as research of a new wart treatment at UAMS has led Mayumi Nakagawa, M.D., Ph.D., to a potential breakthrough HPV vaccine.

If eventually approved, the vaccine would be the first

for women who have developed precancerous cervical lesions from exposure to HPV (human papillomavirus), which is passed through sexual contact.

“It’s very exciting because it will extend the number of women who can be helped, especially those in areas of the world where there’s no HPV screening,” Nakagawa said.

Women who have HPV-induced precancerous cervical lesions are most at risk for cervical cancer, the second-most common cancer among women worldwide. In the United States, 12,340 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed and about 4,030 women will die from cervical cancer in 2013, the American Cancer Society estimates.

A key breakthrough came with the discovery that Candida, a naturally occurring yeast in the body, had an anti-HPV effect.

Nakagawa is now recruiting women with HPV for her phase I clinical trial of the vaccine. The trial will involve 54 women who receive the vaccine, currently being recruited and enrolled by clinical research coordinators at the UAMS Translational Research Institute (TRI).