Dynavax awarded grant for universal HPV vaccine

Officials with Dynavax Technologies Corporation announced on July 6 that they were awarded a $600,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a universal vaccine for human papilloma virus .

Researchers will use the funds to perform feasibility studies for the development of a vaccine. Dynavax officials said that their ultimate goal is to create a universal vaccine that will offer immunity against all strains of cancer-causing HPV.

The Dynavax officials added that the two HPV vaccines currently on the market only target approximately 70 percent of cancer-causing strains of HPV.

In related news, the 26th annual International Papillomavirus Conference is being held this week in Montreal, with a goal of making HPV vaccines more readily available to young women in underdeveloped countries.

Genital human papilloma virus is the most common sexually transmitted infection. There are more than 40 HPV types that can infect the genital areas of males and females. These HPV types can also infect the mouth and throat. It is estimated that 15 percent of infections lead to cervical cancer.

Each year, 470,000 cervical cancers are diagnosed worldwide, with 250,000 deaths due to cervical cancers.

HPV is passed on through genital contact, most often during vaginal sex. HPV may also be passed on during oral sex and genital-to-genital contact.

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