Harnessing the Power of DNA Medicines
While the rising threat of the COVID-19 coronavirus has captured the world’s attention and is a focus at INOVIO as we race to bring our COVID-19 DNA vaccine to human clinical trials in April, we are reminded by International HPV Awareness Day of the critical need to combat the human papillomavirus, which impacts 80% of people worldwide, including 80 million people in the United States. High-risk HPVs cause about 5% of all cancers globally, with an estimated 570,000 women and 60,000 men diagnosed with an HPV-related cancer each year.
At INOVIO, we have been pioneering the development of DNA medicines since our founding. We are the first company in Phase 3 clinical trials with a DNA medicine – VGX-3100 for precancerous cervical dysplasia caused by high-risk HPV genotypes 16/18 – and we also are the first to show destruction or clearance of HPV 16/18 in a Phase 2b study.
DNA medicines are not like mRNA medicines, other pharmaceuticals, or gene therapy. In fact, DNA medicines do not interfere or change an individual’s own DNA. Instead, DNA medicines are composed of optimized DNA plasmids, which are small circles of double-stranded DNA that are synthesized or reorganized by our proprietary computer sequencing technology and designed to produce a specific response in the body. Our DNA medicines are delivered directly into cells via a smart device to instruct the body to fight disease from within by producing a safe, robust and fully functional immune response against targeted pathogens and cancers.
For many of us with HPV, DNA medicines provide the first real hope to rid ourselves of the virus and its associated diseases, which include cervical, anal, head and neck, and other cancers. HPV also causes the rare, debilitating, and potentially fatal HPV-related disease recurrent respiratory papillomatosis or RRP, which causes tumors in the throat that can make talking almost impossible and can close off airways in both adults and children.
Our scientists are working tirelessly on developing and providing the world with DNA medicines for urgent health needs from emerging infectious diseases to cancer to HPV-associated diseases. We know that patients with HPV have waited far too long for a solution and we believe our DNA medicines have the potential to destroy and clear this possibly life-threatening invader and allow the body to heal itself. #INOVIO
We also applaud the efforts of the International Papillomavirus Society (IPVS) to raise awareness about HPV and related diseases. #AskAboutHPV