A new therapy that is currently being developed by Hera Therapeutics has been found to be effective in combating three types of human papillomavirus, including the two that cause 70 percent of all cervical cancers, according to a study presented at the 29th Annual International Papillomavirus Conference.
When tested in several cultured human cell models, HTI-1968 blocked the replication of HPV-16, HPV-18 and HPV-11 cells, according to Louise T. Chow, Ph.D. and Thomas Broker, Ph.D., who presented the findings at the Seattle conference. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the National Institutes of Health funded Chow's work at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.
"HTI-1968 is potent and selective, inhibiting the growth of these high-risk HPV types. Dr. Chow's findings, though early stage, offer hope to millions of women infected by one of these high-risk HPV types, including two that are responsible for 70 percent of cervical cancer cases," said Hera Therapeutics CEO Karl Hostetler, M.D.. Currently surgery is the only therapy available to women who have persistent infection with these types of HPV and show signs of abnormal cells.
Hera Therapeutics is developing a topical, non-surgical approach to treat HPV, which could alter the standard of care while preserving structural integrity of the cervix.
Approximately 96 million people worldwide, men and women, are infected with HPV-16 or HPV-18, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Almost 4,000 women in the U.S. die from invasive cervical cancer each year, according to the CDC.
While cervical cancer vaccines prevent infection from the disease, they are not approved by the FDA for marketing to people over 26-years-old and have not demonstrated efficacy in people already infected with the HPV virus.