TMH begins new vaccine trial against cervical cancer

Mumbai: As part of a countrywide trial, Tata
Memorial Hospital (TMH) here has begun its first vaccination
clinic at Kanjurmarg in Mumbai to immunise 3000 girls against
cervical cancer across the city.

TMH has started a trial to test the comparative efficacy
of the Quadrivalent vaccine against Human Papilomavirus (HPV)
that causes cervical cancer.

"The test is a part of countrywide trial, involving
20,000 girls in the age group of 10-18 years, being conducted
by the World Health Organisation, International Agency for
Research in Cancer and is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates
foundation," Dr Rajendra Badwe Director Tata Memorial
Centre said after inaugurating the first vaccination clinic.

He said the hospital will have 10 such clinic across the
city for carrying out vaccination on 3000 girls over a
six-month period.

The vaccines are now available against the common strains
of the HPV and are expected to protect women even before they
become infected, one step ahead of screening.

Published data from clinical trials have shown that the
currently available HPV vaccines are safe and provide good

Badwe said, however, vaccines alone cannot wipe out
cervical cancer.

"Even if the HPV vaccines became available worldwide,
there would still be many women who are already infected with
HPV and would still be at risk," Badwe said adding also, not
all cancer-causing HPV types are covered by the vaccines.

Therefore, combined efforts to provide screening and
treatment to women in the developing world should continue,
he said.

The TMC director also said, for developing simple,
efficacious and affordable techniques and models for cervical
cancer screening, the TMH has been conducting trials over the
last one decade, in Mumbai and rural Maharashtra.

"These methods are expected to be very useful in reducing
the cervical cancer burden in India and other low-resource
countries. Many of these trials are now published in national
and international medical journals," he said.

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers.
In wealthy countries, screening programmes help to keep
cervical cancer rates low as they have an easy and affordable
access to regular Papsmear screening, Badwe said.

Worldwide, each year, nearly 5,00,000 women are diagnosed
with cervical cancer, and nearly 2,50,000 die from it. A
disproportionate number of these deaths occur in developing

In India--bearing 20 per cent of overall cervical
morbidity and mortality--it is currently estimated that each
year over a lakh cases are diagnosed and over 55,000 women die
of cervical cancer.