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Eur J Immunol. 2007 Nov;37 Suppl 1:S148-55.

Prevention of cancer through immunization: Prospects and challenges for the 21st century.

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  • 1Diamantina Institute for Cancer Immunology and Metabolic Medicine, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Woolloongabba, Queensland, Australia.


Persistent infection by several microbial agents is responsible for at least 15% of cancer globally, including most cancers of the liver, stomach, and cervix. The recent development of vaccines that can prevent infection and premalignant disease caused by human papillomaviruses (HPV), which cause virtually all cases of cervical cancer as well as some other cancers, has focused renewed attention on infection control as a means of reducing the global cancer burden. For vaccines to prevent cancer-causing infection with hepatitis C virus, Helicobacter pylori, or Epstein Barr virus, new vaccine technologies to induce more effective protective responses are required. For the two available cancer control vaccines, designed to prevent infection with HPV and hepatitis B virus, the major challenge is to promote effective vaccine deployment through education programs and increased affordability/accessibility for underserved populations, particularly in the developing world, where the cancer burden attributable to infection by these two viruses is greatest.

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