|New cervical cancer vaccine looks promising in trials.|
An experimental vaccine meant to protect against nine types of human papillomavirus (HPV) could prevent 90 percent of all cervical cancers, a new study suggests. Researchers examined data from more than 2,500 women with precancerous cervical lesions and found that nearly all were caused by the nine types of HPV targeted by the vaccine.
The new vaccine, currently undergoing clinical trials, protects against more types of HPV than current vaccines, according to the study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. The researchers wanted to study how many cervical precancers could potentially be prevented by an investigational nine-valent HPV vaccine that provides protection against the HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58.
Of the women aged 15 to 26 with precancers, about one-third were infected with more than one HPV type. Of women aged 24 to 45 with precancers, nearly one in five was infected with more than one HPV type, the investigators found. HPV, which is spread through sexual contact, not only can lead to cervical cancer, but also cancers of the vulva, vagina and anus in women. In men, it can lead to cancers of the anus and penis.
The researchers noted that even though current HPV vaccines (Gardasil and Cervarix) are known to be safe, their use in the United States and other wealthy nations has been "inadequate". The use of HPV vaccines must increase if their full potential to reduce cervical cancer is to be achieved.