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Release: Feb. 21, 2000

UI to begin second cervical cancer vaccine study

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa Health Care researchers will begin a second clinical trial this month to help determine the effectiveness and safety of a vaccine for a type of human papillomavirus (HPV), which is associated with many cases of cervical cancer.

The trial will involve women ages 16 to 23. Women interested in participating in the trial must be in general good health and must not be pregnant or planning to conceive while enrolled in the study, which will last approximately seven months.

Participants must be willing to make approximately five visits to the UI Family Planning Clinic at the UI Hospitals and Clinics, during which they will receive the vaccine or a placebo. Follow-up includes seven months of gynecological exams to test participants for the presence of HPV infection or precancerous cells. Compensation will be provided.

Nearly all cervical cancer cases in women are associated with HPV infection, said Kevin A. Ault, M.D., UI assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the study's lead investigator.

"Any final cervical cancer vaccine will likely include several HPV strains because a vaccine against one strain does not protect against another," Ault said. Several other clinical trials are underway in the United States and abroad.

For more information, call Tracy Peters, research nurse, at (319) 356-2719 and ask about the HPV vaccine trial.

HPV infection often goes unnoticed because the symptoms are largely "silent." However, an untreated individual can easily spread the infection to other sexual partners over years or decades.

Cervical cancer annually causes nearly 5,000 deaths in the United States and 500,000 worldwide. In Iowa, nearly 150 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.