Oct 12, 2012

Some Vaccines Have Been Approved to Prevent Cancer-Causing Infections

Several cancervaccines are currently in use and many, many more are in the experimental stage in clinical trials. Cancer vaccines boost the body’s natural ability to protect itself through the immune system.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two types of preventive cancer vaccines. One vaccine was designed to prevent Hepatitis B (which can lead to liver cancer) and another to prevent human papillomavirus types 16 and 18 (HPV) infection and effectively prevents about 70 percent of cervical cancer.

And just recently (2010) the FDA approved a vaccine designed to treat (as opposed to prevent) metastatic prostate cancer in men. It has been used successfully to lengthen survival. Named sipuleucel-T (Provenge®), it is individualized to each patient by using immune cells from the patient’s body.

Cancer vaccines may lead to major improvements in cancer treatment in the future. Some studies to date have shown positive results and some have not.

If you are interested in clinical trials for cancer vaccines, check out the list offered on the NCI Factsheet on Cancer Vaccines.

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