Medical researchers have zeroed in on eight specific types of human papillomavirus (HPV) which are believed to be responsible for at least 90% of all cervical cancers. These particular HPV strains are likely to be targeted for the manufacture of the next generation of vaccines now.
Pharmaceutical giants, GlaxoSmithKline and Merck & Co. already have such vaccines in the market . These vaccines act against the various HPV strains responsible for cervical cancer, the second most common form of carcinoma that affects women worldwide.
A recent study examined data from 10,575 cases of cervical cancer across 38 countries. The entire data encompassed 60 years and helped to provide useful information about the types of HPV that were predominantly responsible for the disease. The study was led by Silvia de Sanjose associated with the Catalan Institute of Oncology, Barcelona.
The results revealed that eight types of HPV strains were actually responsible for 90% incidence of the disease. The strains were identified as 16, 18, 45, 33, 31, 52, 58 as well as 35, categorized according to the descending order of frequency.
The current vaccines available offer total protection against the HPV strains 16 and 18 and is also partially effective against the types 31 and 45 via cross protection.
The study which was conducted across Europe, North America, Central South America, Asia, Oceania and Africa also found several rare types of HPV strains namely 26, 30, 61, 67, 69, 82, and 91 which contributed about 1% to the number of cervical cancers occurring worldwide.
The study was hailed as a Herculean effort by Cosette Wheeler of the New Mexico Health Sciences Center located in the United States. Wheeler also commented that the study results may well be regarded as a benchmark for all times to come.