A vaccine targeting the human papillomavirus (HPV) has produced “encouraging” results.
The vaccination programme was introduced in Australia in 2007 and was available to all women aged from 12 to 26.
Results from the programme suggest the vaccine is effective at halting cervical cell abnormalities, although researchers said it was only suggestive evidence and that more work would be needed to confirm the results.
The researchers said that introducing the vaccine led to a reduced incidence of the high-grade abnormal cells that are precursors to cancer, adding that among girls under 18, incidences of high-grade cervical abnormalities (HGAs) fell by a significant 0.38%.
The team, led by Dr Julia Brotherton, from Victorian Cytology Service Registries in Melbourne, wrote in The Lancet medical journal: “This is the first report of a decrease in incidence of high-grade cervical abnormalities within three years after implementation of a population-wide HPV vaccination programme.”