None of the lesions got worse during the study period, and all unresolved lesions were surgically removed when the observation period ended. "Since none of the lesions progressed after 15 weeks, we can be reasonably assured that this window of time is safe for vaccine treatments," she said.
Trimble is studying a larger group of patients to confirm her results and rule out other potentially confounding factors such as age, smoking status, and contraceptive method, which may influence how these lesions clear. Trimble recently published results linking second-hand cigarette smoke to cervical cancer progression. She also is looking for additional immune system characteristics that could predict mechanisms of immune responses to HPV. This may provide more information on which women have lesions more likely to regress and potentially avoid surgery, plus provide the opportunity to treat early-stage disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 20 million people in the United States are infected with HPV and up to three-quarters of these have viral strains that are linked to cervical, oral and anal cancers. More than 10,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed in the United States annually.