Investigators from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg reported on the effects of LMV-601 on cultured human cervical cells. LMV-601 is a phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase C (PC-PLC) inhibitor.
For this study, the cells were derived from patients who had been infected with a high-risk HPV and subsequently developed cervical cancer. When these human cancer cells were treated in the culture plate with LMV-601, the researchers found the virus expression was halted and growth/multiplication of cancer cells was stopped.
Today, the only treatments for cervical cancer (early-stage and advanced) are surgery and/or radiation with or without chemotherapy. The two vaccines recently approved (Gardasil, Cervarix) are effective only to prevent infection with 4 or 2 HPV types, respectively. For women already infected with HPV, no curative treatment is available. Eberhard Amtmann, PhD, and colleagues said that based on its mechanism of action, LVM-601 should be effective against established infections with all HPV types (ICAAC abstract TF1-1646).
Dr. Amtmann said LMV-601 does not act on the virus directly, but induces the infected cells to block multiplication of the virus. He noted that this novel mechanism of action makes development of virus resistance to the drug very unlikely. Based on the recent finding with this agent, a clinical study in patients with early-stage cervical cancer is scheduled to begin within the next six to 12 months. If the trial goes well, LMV-601 could become the first drug treatment for infections of the cervix with high-risk HPV types and early stages of cervical cancer. LMV-601 is being developed by Lumavita AG.