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Doctor names cancer vaccines and explains what they protect against

Doctor names cancer vaccines and explains what they protect against Photo: Doctor names cancer vaccines (Getty Images)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

There are cancer vaccines in the world divided into preventive and therapeutic, says pediatrician Dasha Vlasenko.

Preventive vaccines against cancer

They help prevent infection with viruses that cause precancerous conditions. They do not treat an existing infection.

Cervarix

This vaccine prevents infection with the two strains of HPV that cause most cervical cancers, HPV types 16 and 18; it may help prevent HPV-related cancers of the anal canal, cervix, head and neck, penis, vulva, and vagina.

Gardasil

This vaccine protects against infection with HPV types 16, 18, 6, and 11 and may help prevent HPV-related cancers of the anal canal, cervix, head and neck, penis, vulva, and vagina.

Gardasil-9

This vaccine is for the prevention of HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58, as well as for the prevention of condyloma acuminatum caused by HPV types 6 or 11; it may help prevent the development of HPV-related cancers of the anal canal, cervix, head and neck, penis, throat, vulva, and vagina.

Hepatitis B vaccine-Engerix B or Euvax

A preventive vaccine that protects against infection with the hepatitis B virus; may help prevent the development of liver cancer associated with the hepatitis B virus.

Therapeutic cancer vaccines

They can help in treatment. One of the drugs currently under development is personalized neoantigen vaccines.

Unlike normal but overexpressed proteins, such as PAP, tumors also have unique targets that arise as a result of mutations.

They are called neoantigens ("new antigens") and they are produced exclusively by tumor cells, not by any healthy cells in the patient.

So, with neoantigenic vaccines, it can be assumed that immune responses can be directed specifically against tumor cells, protecting healthy cells from immune attack, and thus preventing side effects.