Douglas Lowy and John Schiller of the National Cancer Institute of the United States received in 2017 one of the prestigious Lasker Prizes, sometimes called “American Nobel Prizes.” It is alleged that the vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV) is able to prevent almost all cases of cervical cancer and protect against cancer of the mouth, throat and anus. John Schiller talked about the HPV award-winning study, about plans for the future and ways to combat moods against their vaccine.
According to Schiller, the main problem is in less prosperous countries, which account for 85% of cervical cancer, where the vaccine is less affordable due to high costs. In more developed countries, there are many other factors, for example, in the US it is, in general, a fear of vaccination in general. And with regard to vaccines against HPV, there are several problems associated with the fact that it concerns a sexually transmitted disease.
At this point, it seems that pediatricians and general practitioners do not actively use this vaccine, unlike others, say, against meningitis and hepatitis B. Part of the problem is that the HPV vaccine is prophylactic, it is designed to prevent cervical cancer uterus, and this is a disease with which neither parents nor pediatricians have ever had business. Obstetricians-gynecologists know this disease, and pediatricians do not, and this radically distinguishes this vaccine from most other pediatric and pediatric vaccines.
In the laboratory of Doug Lowie Schiller came as a postdoctoral student in 1983, and the second lecture he listened to was a lecture by Harald zur Hausen, who subsequently received the Nobel Prize. In this lecture he said: “Eureka! We found a virus that seems to cause 50% of cervical cancer. ” And this virus was a strain of HPV-16 human papillomavirus. In fact, the group in which Schiller collaborated went from examining a model of how a normal cell degenerates into a cancerous cell, to something that may be involved in the onset of cancer. There was something accidental about this.
And now one of the cases that they are currently engaged in is to find out whether enough one dose of the vaccine is sufficient to ensure long-term protection. If so, then the opportunity for a person to get a single dose of vaccine in his youth will make a radical revolution, especially in the conditions of developing countries. In addition, scientists are considering the work of cancer immunotherapy. It turns out that the virus-like particles with which we work to create a vaccine against HPV are usually the outer envelope of a virus, for example, the HPV-16 strain or other papilloma viruses of animals or humans, and have a unique ability to infect tumor cells and selectively bind to them. This knowledge makes it possible to develop cancer treatment methods that have a wide spectrum of action.
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