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HBV vaccine prevents liver cancer

Research demonstrates protection offered by vaccination programme

A paper published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute has indicated that babies vaccinated against hepatitis B have significantly reduced incidence of liver cancer in later life.

Researchers in Taiwan followed up babies vaccinated as part of a universal hepatitis B virus vaccination programme launched in July 1984. Of 1,958 patients, aged 6–29 years, diagnosed with cancer of the liver (hepatocellular carcinoma) they found only 64 cases in the vaccinated group compared with 444 in the unvaccinated birth cohorts.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major cause of liver cancer and children generally contract it from their mothers. The virus can also be transmitted by sex, intravenous drug use or blood transfusion.

22nd September 2009

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