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Translation of basic scientific findings into practical patient outcomes is a significant exercise even when the goal is conceptually straightforward, as in the development of a vaccine for an infectious disease. Recognition of the association of cervical cancer with papillomavirus infection encouraged development of a vaccine to help with prevention of this very common cancer, causing over 250,000 deaths each year worldwide. To introduce a vaccine program, it was however necessary to develop a technology for making viral Ag, demonstrate that systemic immunization could provide mucosal surface protection in the genital tract, develop assays for vaccine potency, and understand enough about the epidemiology and natural history of the infection to plan effective intervention strategies. This process took ∼25 years. The major hurdle, now that effective vaccines are available, is to ensure their deployment in the countries where they are most needed. The development and deployment of human papillomavirus vaccines demonstrate the benefits of collaborative research activity across the globe, and between academia and industry, to translate scientific discoveries into public health benefits.


Ian H Frazer. Development and implementation of papillomavirus prophylactic vaccines. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). 2014 May 1;192(9):4007-11

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PMID: 24748633

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