Magazine article Newsweek

In the News: A New Way to Fight Cancer

Magazine article Newsweek

In the News: A New Way to Fight Cancer

Article excerpt

Byline: Jennifer Barrett

Until recently, it seemed unimaginable: a vaccine that could prevent cancer? But last week the Food and Drug Administration approved a vaccine intended to do just that. Gardasil, manufactured by Merck, protects against two aggressive strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that lead to cervical cancer, the second most common cancer in women (250,000 deaths a year worldwide). In clinical trials involving about 21,000 women, the vaccine showed remarkable results: nearly 100 percent protection from HPV 16 and 18, which cause 70 percent of all cervical cancers. "This is the biggest breakthrough since the invention of the Pap test," says Dr. Mark Einstein, gynecologic oncologist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States; 80 percent of sexually active women will be exposed to it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. …

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