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Vaccine stops cervical cancer virus

A new vaccine to prevent most cases of cervical cancer has been developed.

Vaccine stops cervical cancer virus

Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women. A new vaccine has been developed by GlaxoSmithKline Plc, which can prevent most cases of cervical cancer. Each year 470,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. If it is detected and treated early, survival rates are good. Eighty percent of deaths from the disease are in the developing world. Scientists agree that the best way to tackle the disease is a vaccine to prevent persistent infection with HPV, a sexually transmitted virus, and to combine it with a screening programme. Researchers from the Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire, tested the vaccine on 1,113 women, aged 15-25 years in the United States, Canada and Brazil. The women were randomly selected to receive three doses of the vaccine or a placebo and followed up for 27 months. The researchers said that the vaccine was 91 percent effective against infection with HPV 16 and HPV 18 strains and provided 100 percent protection against persistent infections that can lead to cancer. The vaccine was safe and had few side effects. GlaxoSmithKline has pushed up the filing date for worldwide regulatory approval for the vaccine known as Cervarix from 2008 to 2006. Merck and Co Inc is also working on an HPV vaccine to protect women from HPV infection.
The researchers tested the vaccine that protects women against two strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that are linked to more than 70 percent of cervical cancer cases, but said that larger trials with a longer follow-up time are needed to confirm the trial results.
The Lancet,
November 2004
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