FDA grants NJ-based Merck approval for cervical cancer vaccine

(06/08/06) MORRISTOWN ? New Jersey-based Merck has been given approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to manufacture a vaccine designed to prevent cervical cancer in women.

The ruling gives Merck the first government-approved vaccine to serve such a purpose. The series of shots prevents the formation of the human papillomavirus HPV, which turns cells from healthy to cancerous. The vaccine, called Gardasil, protects women against four types of HPV. Of the four HPV types, two are responsible for 70 percent of all cervical cancers.

Doctors and cancer awareness activists are calling the FDA?s ruling a victory for everyone. Experts say 300,000 women die each year from cervical cancer. According to medical officials, the new vaccine will likely prevent two thirds of those cases. Merck representatives say the vaccine should be ready in about two weeks.

 

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