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Cervical Cancer Vaccine Shows Promise

Vaccine's Maker Plans to File for FDA Review by Year's End

Global Impact?

"Cervical cancer is a major problem, especially in developing countries, where they don't have the screening capabilities the way we do for the Pap test. This is something that could be helpful as far as saving lives," says Flowers.

"The study of HPV vaccines is important because cervical cancer is a leading cancer killer of women in many countries, and in many countries cervical screening is not available or feasible to introduce. There are other benefits as well, but this is the biggest one," states Saslow.

It's not yet clear if developing countries will have access to the vaccine, notes Hildesheim.

"An HPV vaccine would have the greatest impact in the U.S if it was targeted at the population that is least likely to get screened and therefore most at risk from cervical cancer," Saslow notes.

Maker's Reaction

"We're really quite excited about these results," Skidmore tells WebMD. "This is a vaccine that we have been working on for more than a decade, and it has the potential to improve the health of women around the world."

Another Vaccine in the Works

Another cervical cancer vaccine -- Cervarix, made by GlaxoSmithKline -- is also in the works. GlaxoSmithKline is a WebMD sponsor.

"We've completed phase II studies and that data was published in The Lancet last year," GlaxoSmithKline spokeswoman Danielle Halstrom tells WebMD. "In that study, we showed 100% protection against persistent infection of HPV 16 and 18."

Phase III studies of Cervarix are now underway. They will include about 35,000 women in 14 countries. "We have completed enrollment of those studies. The studies are progressing nicely," says Halstrom.

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