10/07/2005

Vaccine prevents onset of cervical cancer - Yahoo! News

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A vaccine that targets a human wart virus completely prevented early-stage cervical cancer and precancerous lesions in women caused by the two most common forms of the virus, Merck & Co. Inc. said on Thursday.

"This trial confirms that a vaccine can give young women a high level of protection from developing precancerous lesions and early cervical cancers," said Laura Koutsky, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington, who led the study.

The ability to prevent cervical cancers, at least for the short term, was shown in a late-stage trial sponsored by the U.S. drug maker. It included more than 12,000 women from 13 countries, aged 16 to 26, who were not infected with either of the virus types when the trial began.

The two forms of sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, types 16 and 18, are responsible for an estimated 70 percent of cervical cancer cases and are the targets of Merck's Gardasil vaccine. Such cancers kill about 300,000 women worldwide each year, including almost 4,000 in the United States, Merck said.

Merck, which licensed the vaccine technology from Australian blood products and vaccine developer CSL Ltd., plans to seek U.S. approval for the cancer vaccine, which also protects against genital warts.

Vaccine prevents onset of cervical cancer - Yahoo! News

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