Persistent infection with the high-risk Human Papillomavirus type 16 (HPV 16) is the causative event for the development of cervical cancer and other malignant tumors of the anogenital tract and of the head and neck. Despite many attempts to develop therapeutic vaccines no candidate has entered late clinical trials. An interesting approach is a DNA based vaccine encompassing the nucleotide sequence of the E6 and E7 viral oncoproteins. Because both proteins are consistently expressed in HPV infected cells they represent excellent targets for immune therapy. Here we report the development of 8 DNA vaccine candidates consisting of differently rearranged HPV-16 E6 and E7 sequences within one molecule providing all naturally occurring epitopes but supposedly lacking transforming activity. The HPV sequences were fused to the J-domain and the SV40 enhancer in order to increase immune responses. We demonstrate that one out of the 8 vaccine candidates induces very strong cellular E6- and E7- specific cellular immune responses in mice and, as shown in regression experiments
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