The cervical cancer vaccine, Cervarix, appears to work best in young girls aged 10 to 14, according to its manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
The vaccine targets the human papilloma virus, which has been implicated in cervical cancer. And although it works pretty well in the 15-25 age group as well, the immune response in young girls was twice as high as that found in this group. This appears to suggest that the vaccine works for a longer time when given at a young age and thus reduces the need for booster shots. The findings of this research are to be presented at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in Washington DC. Anna-Barbara Moscicki, a pediatrics professor from the University of California says that the reason for a better response in girls could be because sexual activity has not yet begun by then, "Vaccination of pre-teen/adolescent girls against cancer-causing HPV (Human Papillomavirus) before onset of sexual activity will be an important part of the overall strategy for cervical cancer prevention," she said.
The trials were conducted in Europe and Russia and had 158 participants aged between 10 and 14 and 458 women aged from 15 to 25 years. Cervarix targets two viruses that are responsible for causing 70 percent of cervical cancers in women.