History of cervical cancer, HPV vaccine development

Date: Wednesday, 30-Aug-2006

The New York Times on Tuesday examined the development of vaccines to prevent transmission of the human papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer.

Some of the studies conducted over the 70-year search for a cervical cancer vaccine found that the disease was linked to genital herpes, consumption of salt, intercourse with uncircumcised men and certain types of genes, the Times reports.

According to the Times, "each step forward" in creating Merck's HPV vaccine Gardasil and GlaxoSmithKline's experimental HPV vaccine Cervarix "was a triumph of hard science over the pseudoscientific myths that for centuries" were associated with cervical cancer (McNeil, New York Times, 8/29).

Both Gardasil and Cervarix in clinical trials have been shown to be 100% effective in preventing infection with HPV strains 16 and 18, which together cause about 70% of cervical cancer cases (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 7/26).

FDA last month approved Gardasil for sale and marketing to girls and women ages nine to 26, and CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices later that month voted unanimously to recommend that all girls ages 11 and 12 receive the vaccine (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 8/28).

This article is republished with kind permission from our friends at the The Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery of in-depth coverage of health policy developments, debates and discussions. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for Kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Copyright 2006 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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