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University of Iowa Media Advisory

Nov. 2, 2004

Media Availability: Expert Can Discuss Cervical Cancer Vaccine Study

The University of Iowa participated in a study that showed that 94 percent of women given a "cervical cancer vaccine" were protected from infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) -- the virus that causes most cases of cervical cancer.

As described in an Associated Press story:

"The new study followed 755 . . . women for four years after vaccination. HPV-16 infections had taken hold in seven; none developed precancers. In a comparison group of 750 women who received dummy shots, infections took hold in 111 and precancers formed in 12."

The findings -- which represent a major step toward the first marketable cervical cancer vaccine -- were reported at a Nov. 1 meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. The study was paid for by Merck and led by University of Washington researchers.

Kevin Ault, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, led the UI portion of the study. Ault also is an associate professor of epidemiology in the UI College of Public Health and a member of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. The UI is participating in other studies on HPV, or cervical cancer, vaccines.

Media may set up telephone interviews with Ault by contacting him at or 319-353-7384. Reporters who desire on-campus interviews should contact Becky Soglin for assistance at 319-335-6660.

The Associated Press and Reuters stories on the recent vaccine finding can be viewed respectively at:

A UI news release on earlier HPV findings can be viewed at:

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5137 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACT: Media: Becky Soglin, 319-335-6660,