A virus-based vaccine may prevent cervical cancer
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High-risk human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are now recognized as the etiologic agents of invasive cervical cancer, a major cancer in women. A single HPV type (type 16) is responsible for about 50% of the cancers. The major capsid protein of papillomaviruses, L1, when expressed by recombinant DNA technology, has the intrinsic ability to assemble into virus-like particles (VLPs). In a recent study, a vaccine based on HPV 16 VLPs was tested in a placebo-controlled proof-of-principle trial in young women in the United States. The vaccine was found to prevent 100% of incident persistent HPV 16 infections and HPV 16-associated cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. These results offer promise that cervical cancer will be preventable by an HPV-based vaccine. Studies planned or in progress are examining the efficacy of the vaccine in men, in HIV-infected individuals, and in other parts of the world. Attempts are being made to prepare vaccines that can be administered more easily to large populations.
KeywordsCervical Cancer Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia Natl Cancer Inst Invasive Cervical Cancer
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References and Recommended Reading
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