Lovaxin-B helps HPV and Could Help Treat Breast Cancer

PJ Hamel Health Guide
  • A  recent cervical cancer vaccine has been all over the news lately, both for its potential breakthrough impact on the lives of young women, and its politics. A vaccine for cervical cancer, administered to young women prior to their most sexually active years, would prevent them from getting the human papilloma virus (HPV), a virus that can cause cervical cancer, the number-two cancer killer in women, after breast cancer.

    Unfortunately, the vaccine itself has become a political football, due to an outcry from some corners that it would promote sex before marriage. Well, there should be no such controversy when and if the current pre-clinical testing and subsequent clinical trials for Lovaxin-B are completed.

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    Dr. Yvonne Paterson, herself a breast cancer survivor, is a professor of microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania. She’s also chairperson of the Scientific Advisory Board of New Jersey-based biotechnology company Advaxis, which is working on a series of cancer “vaccines” based on Paterson’s research. While we usually think of vaccines as preventing disease, in this case the word refers more to an immunotherapy, something that can reverse the course of an already established disease. And that’s just what Paterson and Advaxis are hoping to prove with Lovaxin-B, which thus far has been shown to be effective in eliminating breast cancer tumors in mice.

    Lovaxin-B is based on a common dairy-based bacteria, Listeria. Paterson and her team took this bacterium and built on its known effect of being a powerful stimulator of killer T cells, the knights in shining armor of our immune system. Without getting TOO scientific–hey, I was an English major!–Listeria is modified and used to “infect” cancer cells so that the immune system will seek them out and kill them at the same time it’s killing the Listeria. 

    Peterson’s experiments with mice, published in the September 2005 Journal of Immunology, demonstrated that a live Listeria cancer vaccine can eradicate rapidly growing breast tissue tumors in mice. Advaxis is currently seeking FDA approval for a clinical trial with humans.

    "It took awhile to dissect what elements of an immune response were best able to cause the rejection of established tumors," says Paterson. "But it has paid off and we are very excited to see the technology finally being tested in cancer patients… The dream of the cancer immunotherapist is to provide an alternative and more humane way of controlling metastatic disease than current chemotherapies."

    In other words– the hoped-for outcome of Lovaxin-B is for our immune systems to take care of cancer like they deal with the common cold. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to

    make cancerous breast tumors disappear without surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy?

    Stay tuned.

Published On: March 30, 2007