Friday, October 16, 2009

Loyola Research Led to Development of New Cervical Cancer Vaccine

MAYWOOD, IL. - A new cervical cancer vaccine approved Oct. 16 by the Food and Drug Administration was developed as a result of research at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

In the mid-1990s, a team of Loyola researchers, Lutz Gissmann, Martin Muller, Jian Zhou and Jeanette Paintsil, invented the technology that has been developed into the vaccine, Cervarix. Gissmann said the licensee and manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, "has made a very strong, efficient vaccine."

The vaccine is approved for girls and young women. It protects against two types of a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the predominant cause of cervical cancer. The Loyola researchers developed and patented the HPV vaccine, and did further studies to facilitate vaccine development by the manufacturer. The vaccine stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies to HPV. If an immunized individual is exposed to HPV, her immune system will be primed to attack and destroy the virus.

The vaccine protects against Type 16 and Type 18 of the HP virus, which cause 75 percent of cervical cancers in North America. The vaccine may also provide protection against other cancer-causing HPV types.

"It is a very effective vaccine against the most common cause of cervical cancer, and it's most effective when given to young women before exposure to the virus," said Dr. Sondra Summers, an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stritch.

The work that Gissmann and his team did in developing the vaccine "is a good example of the type of research -- ranging from the laboratory bench to the bedside -- that is benefiting patients today and in the future," said Richard Kennedy, Ph.D., senior associate dean of research at Stritch and vice president of Health Sciences Research at Loyola University Health System.

Other Loyola research breakthroughs include a blood test to quickly identify types of heart failure and techniques to diagnose and treat antibiotic-resistant infections. Loyola researchers and physicians also are studying a promising weapon against breast cancer called notch inhibitors, as well as a therapy that would help stroke patients by jump-starting the growth of nerve fibers.

"Loyola University Chicago and Loyola University Health System look forward to continuing their translational efforts that effectively bridge clinical care and discovery in the laboratory," Kennedy said.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.