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Australia to use cancer vaccine

29th November 2006

Australia has given the go-ahead to a new vaccine against cervical cancer, paving the way for all females from 12-26 years of age to receive the immunisation.

The homegrown vaccine Gardasil will soon be made available under a US $340 million deal with pharmaceutical firm CSL.

It provides protection against the sexually-transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes about 70% of cervical cancers.

Cervical cancer expert Dr Gerry Wain, director of gynaecological oncology at Sydney's Westmead Hospital, said the impact of the vaccinations would be swift, especially on numbers diagnosed with pre-cancerous lesions.

The vaccine is expected to be of particular benefit to Aboriginal women who have rates of the disease three times the rest of the population.

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