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Friday, September 4, 2009

HPV vaccine may protect against breast cancer

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is believed to be the most significant cause of cervical cancer, and to reduce the risk of cervical cancer, there is a Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine that is used for the people at high risk of developing cervical cancer. However, researches have known for some time from analysis of cancerous breast cells that strains of HPV have been found; it's just that there has been no medical confirmation that indeed, there is a causal link between the HPV and breast cancer. However, in a recent study, the link was much clearer based on genetic analysis of cancerous cells; and if this link can be made more clear (past studies have run the risk of contamination of the study material), then there is a brighter chance of the use of the HPV vaccine to protect women who have an enhanced risk (link to article):

Researchers at the University of New South Wales used genetic probes to test cancerous breast cells, and found several strains of HPVs, which are known to have a high risk of initiating cancer of the cervix. HPV has a causal role in 90-95 per cent of cervical cancers. "The finding that high risk HPV is present in a significant number of breast cancers indicates they may have a causal role in many breast cancers. Confirming a cancer-causing role for HPV in some breast cancers establishes the possibility of preventing some breast cancers by vaccination against HPV," said Dr Noel Whitaker, a co-author of the new report.

If indeed further research establishes a much clearer causal link, then the lives of a percentage of people who die from breast cancer can be saved.

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