Cancer vaccines are a type of active specific immunotherapy. Antigens are administered and then presented to the immune system in a way that will activate or enhance a cell mediated anti-tumour response, attacking existing cancer cells.10, 18 They are intended to delay or stop cancer cell growth; to cause tumour shrinkage; to prevent cancer from coming back; or to eliminate cancer cells that have not been killed by other forms of treatment.8 Different approaches are being used to develop cancer vaccines and most vaccines remain in clinical trial settings.
Cancer preventive vaccines target infectious agents that cause or contribute to the development of cancer.8 Australia implemented a national, publicly-funded vaccination program against human papillomavirus (HPV) in 2007.19 The quadrivalent HPV vaccine (Gardasil) is delivered over a three-dose course, and provides protection against two oncogenic types (HPV 16/18), which are estimated to be associated with approximately 78% of cervical cancer in Australia.19
Access current guidelines and Update on HPV vaccination in Australia19 (Cancer Forum, 2014)
- discuss your response to a woman who is concerned about the potential effects of the Gardasil vaccine on her 12 year old daughter