Our overall goal is to create a laboratory mouse-based model of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and disease to support the development of novel HPV vaccines. Translational research requires animal models that are robust representations of human pathology in which to test questions of clinical importance, and provide reliable information for the development of novel interventions and patient benefit. HPV is the primary etiologic agent of at least 5% of all cancers worldwide, mostly cervical and subsets of other anogential and head and neck cancers and potentially also non-melanoma skin cancers. Unfortunately, there is no specific antiviral therapy, but vaccine-based approaches are very promising. Many groups are bringing candidate therapeutic HPV vaccines to the clinic, including our pNGLV4aCRTE6E7L2 DNA, but to date there has been limited success in treating patients despite promising data with the vaccines in the current standard animal models. This demonstrates the need for more predictive animal models. HPV does not complete its life cycle and produce virions in mice or in cell culture monolayers and so HPV pseudovirions delivering a reporter construct are often used. This system does not fully mimic the assembly and maturation of the viral capsid in E4-expressing differentiating epithelium or provide a disease endpoint. A model that produces disease from virus produced in a papilloma and expressing clinically-relevant HPV sequences is required. Therefore, we propose to transform the utility of Mus musculus papillomavirus type 1 (MmuPV1) by incorporating key HPV sequences and credential it for use as a model for testing novel therapeutic and protective HPV vaccines.
SPECIFIC AIM 1 : To develop MmuPV1 viruses incorporating HPV sequences. Organ transplant recipients (OTRs) and HIV+ patients exhibit more severe and progressive HPV disease, and dramatically higher rates of HPV-associated malignancies. Non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) in immune-compromised patients are associated with a plethora of ?HPVs that were initially described in epidermodysplasia verruciformis (EDV) patients.
SPECIFIC AIM 2 : To develop an MmuPV1-based mouse challenge model of human cohorts at normal and high risk for the development of HPV-associated cancer. To validate these new murine models of HPV infection and disease we propose to examine the efficacy of a licensed HPV vaccine and two of our clinical grade experimental vaccines that will shortly enter early phase testing: RG1-VLP, a single virus-like particle antigen intended to provide broad immunity against diverse HPV types, and the candidate therapeutic DNA vaccine pNGLV4aCRTE6E7L2 administered via electroporation.
SPECIFIC AIM 3 : To compare the efficacy of the Gardasil 9, pNGLV4aCRTE6E7L2 DNA and RG1-VLP vaccines against disease and viral endpoints in murine models of healthy subjects and those at high risk for HPV-related cancer.

Public Health Relevance

Infection with high risk mucosal HPV types causes 5% of all cancers worldwide, notably cervical and a major fraction of other anogenital cancers and head and neck cancer, and a group of cutaneous HPV types can cause cutaneous squamous cell cancers. Robust and predictive mouse models of HPV-driven carcinogenesis are needed, including for groups of patients at high risk for HPV-associated cancers, for testing novel vaccines to prevent or eliminate HPV infections.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
Program Officer
Watson, Joanna M
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Johns Hopkins University
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code