HPV vaccination using the same technology as AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine could fight cervical cancer in adults

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HPV vaccine, using the same technology as AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine, could fight cervical cancer in adults

  • Trials are underway at several NHS hospitals in which more than 50 women who have tested positive for pre-cancerous tissue on their cervix are given a specially designed HPV vaccine
  • Researchers will examine whether there is still pre-cancerous tissue on the cervix, along with any traces of HPV (human papillomavirus), an infection that’s almost always present when women develop this cancer
  • The trial, dubbed Apollo, includes a vaccine called VTP-200 that targets HPV
  • It differs from the HPV vaccine given to teenagers because it uses an inactivated chimpanzee adenovirus – the same technology used in AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine

The breakthrough technology behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine could be used to fight cervical cancer, potentially erasing early signs of the disease before it has time to progress.

A study is currently being carried out in several NHS hospitals in which more than 50 women who have tested positive for pre-cancerous tissue on their cervix will be given a specially designed HPV vaccine.

After a year, the researchers will examine whether the precancerous tissue is still on the cervix, along with any traces of HPV (human papillomavirus), an infection that’s almost always present when women develop this cancer.

The study, called Apollo, includes a vaccine called VTP-200, which targets HPV but differs from the HPV vaccine given to teenagers because it uses an inactivated chimpanzee adenovirus – the same technology used in the Covid vaccine by AstraZeneca.

The breakthrough technology behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine could be used to fight cervical cancer, potentially erasing early signs of the disease before it has time to progress

A study is currently being carried out in several NHS hospitals in which more than 50 women who have tested positive for pre-cancerous tissue on their cervix will be given a specially designed HPV vaccine.  Above is an illustration of HPV (human papillomavirus) - an infection that is almost always present when women develop this cancer

A study is currently being carried out in several NHS hospitals in which more than 50 women who have tested positive for pre-cancerous tissue on their cervix will be given a specially designed HPV vaccine. Above is an illustration of HPV (human papillomavirus) – an infection that is almost always present when women develop this cancer

It was developed by Vaccitech, a company co-founded by Dame Sarah Gilbert, one of the lead developers of the Covid vaccine.

There is hope that if both of these warning signs are successfully eliminated, the treatment could replace invasive surgery to remove the troubling tissue that thousands of women face every year.

“If we could treat the early signs of cervical cancer without surgery it would make a huge difference to the well-being of so many women,” says Professor Pierre Martin-Hirsch, a gynecologist at the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust who is involved in the study. “We think this vaccine could be the solution.”

Cervical cancer, which affects around 3,200 women each year, is one of the best controlled cancers in the UK.

This is largely due to the success of the large-scale screening program in which women undergo swab tests.

Since its introduction in 1988, the number of cases has decreased by almost 60 percent.

Screening looks for signs of HPV, a common virus that is the cause of most cervical cancers.

If HPV is present, doctors will check for precancerous cell changes in the cervix.

If they do — and doctors believe these changes are likely to become cancerous — a procedure to burn off cells or remove part of the cervix may be needed.

While the surgery is almost always safe and effective, it poses risks to the woman’s reproductive system and increases the risk of later miscarriage and infertility.

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