HPV Vaccine Successful

Photo: Human papilloma virus (HPV)

Vaccination against HPV reduces
cervical cancer; © NCI Visuals Online

Cervical cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in women worldwide, resulting in nearly half a million diagnoses and 240,000 deaths each year. Every day in the United States ten women die from cervical cancer, according to Kevin Ault MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Emory University School of Medicine, and one of the study authors.

But for the next generation of young women, a series of three shots of a new HPV vaccine could make the difference in preventing cervical cancer. The vaccine targets HPV types 16 and 18, which cause about 70 percent of all cases of cervical cancer. It also targets HPV types 6 and 11, which together cause about 90 percent of all cases of genital warts.

Researchers at more than a dozen international medical centers evaluated the efficacy of quadrivalent vaccine targeting HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18 in more than 12,000 women ages 15 to 26 in 13 countries for nearly three years. They found a near 100 percent efficacy rate in prevention of HPV types 16 and 18. "The goal of the study was to see if we could prevent precancerous cases and we were 98 percent effective. Everyone who gets cancer goes through a pre-cancerous stage," says Ault. "There are about 50 to 60 million pap smears performed each year in the US, and about seven percent are abnormal.”

To date there is no vaccine specifically designed to treat disease that is already established. Researchers believe the vaccine will be effective in lowering a girl's lifetime risk of cervical cancer.

MEDICA.de; Source: Emory University