Plant-derived vaccines An approach for affordable vaccines against cervical cancer

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Several types of human papillomavirus (HPV) are causatively associated with cervical cancer, which is the second most common cancer in women worldwide. HPV-16 and 18 are among the high risk types and responsible for HPV infection in more than 70% of the cases. The majority of cervical cancer cases occur in developing countries. Currently available HPV vaccines are expensive and probably unaffordable for most women in low and middle income countries. Therefore, there is a need to develop cost-effective vaccines for these countries. Due to many advantages, plants offer an attractive platform for the development of affordable vaccines. These include low cost of production, scalability, low health risks and the potential ability to be used as unprocessed or partially processed material. Among several techniques, chloroplast transformation is of eminent interest for the production of vaccines because of high yield of foreign protein and lack of transgene transmission through pollen. In this commentary, we focus on the most relevant aspects of plant-derived vaccines that are decisive for the future development of costeffective HPV vaccines.

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