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Friday 28th October 2016

Vaccines may prevent cancer

17th March 2006

A report says that anti-viral vaccines have the potential to prevent one in ten cases of cancer in Britain, and as many as 25% in the developing world. The study by Cancer Research UK estimates there are more than 1.8 million new cases of virus-associated cancer world-wide each year, and that just a handful of viruses are to blame.

It says greater investment in new vaccines could be a highly productive way to combat cancer. Rival drug companies are battling to bring products to market, with the expectation that they could prevent around 70% of all cases of the disease.

Cancers linked to infection with particular viruses include cervix, stomach, liver, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, lymphomas and leukaemia. The report stresses that only a small proportion of people infected with viruses linked to cancer go on to develop the disease.

Lead researcher Professor Alan Rickinson, from the University of Birmingham, said that studying the association between infectious agents and human cancers is important because infection represents one defined link in the chain of events leading to cancer development. Knowing this helps us to trace other links in the chain. If the chain is broken by preventing the infection through vaccination, then the cancer can be prevented from developing.




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