The National Cancer Institute's PREVENT Cancer Program recently awarded MRIGlobal a $3 million contract to create and develop a vaccine for the human papillomavirus (HPV), which will be used in a future Phase I clinical trial.
The project is funded by the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active adults come down with it at some point in their lives. High-risk strains kill approximately 250,000 women worldwide annually, while low-risk strains cause genital warts in 30 million people.
"This research aligns with the MRIGlobal mission," MRIGlobal President and CEO Thomas M. Sack said. "It will contribute to the reduction of cancer, improved cancer survival rates and enable a better quality of life for cancer patients. It can have significant impact on global health."
Global Health Security Associate Vice President Roger Harris agreed.
"We are excited to be involved in one of the first vaccine research programs being supported by the National Cancer Institute to help prevent cervical cancer," Harris said.
Current HPV vaccines protect against HPV16 and HPV18, two strains that cause 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. MRIGlobal is developing a vaccine to protect against 14 other strains, which cause the remaining 30 percent of cervical cancer cases.