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Fowlpox virus recombinants expressing HPV-16 E6 and E7 oncogenes for the therapy of cervical carcinoma elicit humoral and cell-mediated responses in rabbits

Antonia Radaelli23*, Eleana Pozzi1, Sole Pacchioni1, Carlo Zanotto1 and Carlo De Giuli Morghen13*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Pharmacology, Università di Milano, Milan, Italy

2 Department of Pharmacological Sciences, Università di Milano, Milan, Italy

3 CNR Institute of Neurosciences, Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology Section, Università di Milano, Milan, Italy

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Journal of Translational Medicine 2010, 8:40  doi:10.1186/1479-5876-8-40

Published: 21 April 2010



Around half million new cases of cervical cancer arise each year, making the development of an effective therapeutic vaccine against HPV a high priority. As the E6 and E7 oncoproteins are expressed in all HPV-16 tumour cells, vaccines expressing these proteins might clear an already established tumour and support the treatment of HPV-related precancerous lesions.


Three different immunisation regimens were tested in a pre-clinical trial in rabbits to evaluate the humoral and cell-mediated responses of a putative HPV-16 vaccine. Fowlpoxvirus (FP) recombinants separately expressing the HPV-16 E6 (FPE6) and E7 (FPE7) transgenes were used for priming, followed by E7 protein boosting.


All of the protocols were effective in eliciting a high antibody response. This was also confirmed by interleukin-4 production, which increased after simultaneous priming with both FPE6 and FPE7 and after E7 protein boost. A cell-mediated immune response was also detected in most of the animals.


These results establish a preliminary profile for the therapy with the combined use of avipox recombinants, which may represent safer immunogens than vaccinia-based vectors in immuno-compromised individuals, as they express the transgenes in most mammalian cells in the absence of a productive replication.