University of Iowa researchers say they’re seeing promising results in developing a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. Dr. Kevin Ault, a U-of-I professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the project’s lead researcher, says there are an average of 12,000 cervical cancer cases in the U-S every year and half-a-million globally. It’s almost always caused by a sexually-transmitted virus which can infect a woman when she first becomes sexually-active. In some women, the virus develops into a potentially-fatal cancer. Dr. Ault says a series of tests have been conducted at the U-of-I on the cervical cancer vaccine. The most recent four-year trial was found to be 94-percent effective and a number of follow-up studies are underway in an effort to increase that effectiveness. Ault says the studies are zeroing in on a subsection of patients. Women generally in their 20s are considered most at risk. Ault says two pharmaceutical companies are working to market the vaccine to the public, perhaps as soon as 2006.
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