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Tata Hospital to Assess New Cancer Vaccine

Times of India
12 March 2010
By Malathy Iyer
Mumbai, India

Tata Memorial Hospital in Parel will, on Monday, start a study to assess the newly available cervical cancer vaccine. Around 3,000 girls in the age group of 10 to 18 will be administered the vaccine at the hospital’s vaccination centre, which will be inaugurated on Monday.

The cervical cancer vaccine, which was introduced by two pharmaceutical companies last year, has been established to provide adequate antibody coverage to young girls who have never been exposed to the HPV (human papillomavirus). Girls are supposed to take three shots–each costing Rs 3,000–to provide support against the cancer, which kills 55,000 women in India every year.

“Whatever studies have been done so far show that both vaccines are generally safe and efficacious in terms of build–up of antibodies. However, we have realised that three doses of the vaccine provide the same level of antibodies as two doses,” said Dr Surendra Shastri, who heads the preventive oncology department of Tata Memorial Hospital.

The Tata Memorial Hospital study is part of an all–India trial to test the comparative efficacy of two versus three doses of the vaccine. The all–India study, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will be simultaneously conducted in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Sikkim and Mizoram.

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