Vaccine could cut cervical cancer deaths
Women's Health - womens health articles
LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK.L) experimental vaccine against a virus that causes cervical cancer could cut the number of cases and deaths from the illness by up to 76 percent, the drug company said on Monday.

The vaccine known as Cervarix prevents infection from two strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) which account for about 70 percent of cases of cervical cancer.

In a computer model study sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline Plc and presented at a medical conference in Prague, the researchers predicted the impact the vaccine would have in Britain if all 12 year-old girls were vaccinated.

If coverage was 100 percent, the company said it could lead to 76 percent fewer deaths. Eighty percent vaccine coverage could reduce cases and deaths by 61 percent, according to the research.

"Over the lifetime of a UK cohort of 12 year old females, the model predicts the occurrence of 2,636 cervical cancer cases and 1,403 cancer deaths without vaccination," the researchers said in the study.

"With vaccination at 100 percent coverage, the forecast would be as low as 632 cancer cases (76 percent reduction) and 335 cancer deaths (also 76 percent reduction)."

The estimates are based on the vaccination being paired with the existing cervical screening program.

Dr Anne Szarewski, of the charity Cancer Research UK, said HPV vaccination offers great promise in reducing cases and preventing deaths from the illness.

"Currently there are 3,000 women in the UK who get cervical cancer each year -- despite a highly efficient screening program," she said in a statement.

Merck & Co (NYSE:MRK - news) Inc has also produced a vaccine to prevent the illness. The European Medicines Agency has recommended Merck's Gardasil to prevent cancer caused by four strains of HPV. It also won approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June.

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