Sunday, October 09, 2005

Vaccine for Cervical Cancer?

Merck presented the results of a clinical trial indicating that the GARDASIL vaccine "completely prevented early-stage cervical cancer and precancerous cervical lesions caused by the two most common forms of a virus linked to such cancers." The study was conducted on more than 12,000 women aged 16-26 from various countries. The study results were announced at a conference; as such, a full publication that can be evaluated for study design and methods is not yet available. The vaccine would work by preventing HPV infection, the main risk factor for the cancer.

Merck Cervical Cancer Vaccine Prevents Lesions
Experimental Cancer Vaccine Shows Promise
Merck's press release
What you need to know about cancer of the cervix - from the National Cancer Institute

That said, there are groups and individuals who oppose such a vaccine. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection, and vaccination is needed before sexual activity begins. Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council was quoted as saying, "Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a licence to engage in premarital sex." Kristin Hayes of the Abstinence Clearinghouse likewise said "We're against vaccinating children [for HPV]. We don't know what this will do to children psychologically," for a 2005 piece in the journal Cancer Spectrum. Meanwhile, the Amercian Cancer Society estimates that in 2005, 10,370 cases of cervical cancer would be diagnosed in the US, and 3,710 women would die from the disease.
Technorati Tags: ; ; ; ;


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home