Each year, about a half-million women, 80 percent of them living in low-income countries, develop cancer of the cervix. The disease kills 250,000 women annually, and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women living in less developed countries. Nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by infection with human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract. Dr. Garcea's team is working to develop an inexpensive therapeutic vaccine against HPV that will not only protect people from developing new infections, but could potentially trigger an immune system response to cure those who are already infected.
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