Months after the breakthrough release of Gardasil, a vaccine that has shown to decrease the likelihood of women getting cervical cancer – a malignancy than could be caused by a sexually-transmitted virus — the next big thing in vaccines could be coming sooner than we thought.
A revolutionary new vaccine has shown encouraging results in preliminary trials. The vaccine is said to enhance the body’s own defenses to make sure that the cancer will not take much hold of the patient’s body. As it stands now, ovarian cancer is one of the leading causes of death among women.
Ovarian cancer is hard to detect.
Unlike other cancers that have a dependable and cost-effective screening modalities, ovarian cancer is very hard to detect. Though certain blood tests are used to track the progress of patients who are already undergoing treatment, the tests have been proven to be not sensitive and specific enough to screen for new cases. It is next to impossible to detect early (Stage I or II) and is most likely to be detected only when the tumor has grown large enough to the point that it has encroached in the other organs of the abdomen.The cancer is generally responsive to chemotherapy.
It comes back.
Despite a good response rate to treatment, the risk of recurrence is also high. The five year survival rate for the cancer is a very dismal 35%.
The vaccine contains an ovarian cancer protein fragment coupled with a molecule known to induce immune response. It is not clear how long we should wait for this to hit the market but it’s great to know that a lot of lives could be saved in the future. This is quite personal for me. A friend’s mom just recently passed away because of this very same disease. She was diagnosed June and died two weeks ago. Yup, it can be that quick.