Arizona Cancer Center Studies Vaccine to Reduce Risk of Cervical Cancer

George Humphrey
Sept. 28, 2000

Could three injections in the arm protect a woman from developing cervical cancer?

That's what researchers at the Arizona Cancer Center are hoping. A new vaccine to prevent cervical cancer by reducing infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) is being studied in healthy women, ages 18 to 23 years.

"We know that HPV infection contributes to the risk of cervical cancer," says Anna Giuliano, director of Minority Cancer Prevention Control at the Arizona Cancer Center. "If we can control this sexually transmitted disease we believe that cervical cancer could be eliminated as a life-threatening disease worldwide."

HPV, the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S., infects about 1 million people per year. While HPV does not cause cervical cancer in all women infected, it is present in all women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

The three-year study will involve healthy women, randomized to receive either the vaccine or a placebo. The Arizona Cancer Center is one of five sites nationally participating in this clinical trial.

Cervical cancer incidence in the U.S. has declined over the past 10 years due to increased access to Pap smears. However, it continues to be the second most common cancer worldwide in women and the most common in developing countries. More than 500,000 women worldwide will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year and nearly 300,000 women will die from this disease. Eighty percent of cancer deaths from cervical cancer will be in developing countries such as Asia, Africa, Latin America and South America.

Women interested in learning more about this study can contact a study coordinator at 520-514-6015, or send E-mail to




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