Can vaccines help prevent or treat cancer?

Vaccines are incredibly effective at combating infections, so what about diseases that aren't infectious?...
07 December 2021

VACCINE

A needle and bottle of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Question

Is it possible to make vaccines against diseases which aren't infectious like cancer?

Answer

Julia Ravey spoke to Raven Baxter, molecular biologist and doctor of science education, about this question on vaccines...

Raven - We have the HPV vaccine, human papilloma virus vaccine, which is a little different from like the vaccines that we normally hear about where scientists are taking pieces of dead viruses basically, or now genetic material, and introducing it into bodies. The vaccines, like the HPV vaccine, they target viruses that can cause cancer. So in this case, cervical cancer, so HPV is a virus that can mutate cells and turn them from "good" cells into "bad" cells that can cause cancer. So going after that virus is a way that we can protect against cancer. So yeah, we do have cancer vaccines.

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