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Safe and effective preventative Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) vaccine (P-989/1309)

Prof. Henri-Jacques Delecluse, German Cancer Research Center; Dr Anatoliy Shumilov, German Cancer Research Center; Ming-Han Tsai, German Cancer Research Center



Experts estimate that an EBV vaccine could prevent 2% of all cancer cases worldwide. Until now no method for producing a safe and efficient vaccine against EBV has been developed. This vaccine uses “virus-like particles” (VLP), devoid of detectable genetic material, to mimic an EBV infectious particle. While these particles prompt the body to mount an immune response they are themselves innocuous, thus making the vaccine much safer.


This vaccine lacks the ability of EBV particles to induce chromosome instability and chromosomal associated with cancer development. In particular, EBV particles in this vaccine do not enter the cytosol and/or nucleus of cells, making it significantly safer than existing alternatives.

Commercial Opportunity

DKFZ carried out successful in vivo studies and is currently seeking a commercial partner to develop this technology under an exclusive license and/or collaboration agreement to commence clinical trials.

Development Status

Convincing in vitro and in vivo data are available showing the absence of chromosomal instability after treatment with the new generation VLP. Animal studies looking at safety and efficacy of the VLPs are currently being conducted.

Patent Situation

A first patent family has been filed as WO2013098364 “Second generation virus-like particles from Epstein-Barr Viruses for vaccination purposes” priority December 2012, the application was nationalized in CN, EP, JP and US.
A second patent family has been filed November 2016 addressing the reduction of inducing chromosome instability which is not published yet.

Further Reading

Scientific publications:
1. Pavlova S, Feederle R, Gärtner K, Fuchs W, Granzow H, Delecluse HJ. An Epstein-Barr virus mutant produces immunogenic defective particles devoid of viral DNA. J Virol. 2013 Feb;87(4):2011-22
2. Shumilov A, et al. Epstein-Barr virus particles induce centrosome amplification and chromosomal instability. Nat Commun. 2017 Feb 10;8:14257. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14257