The most ambitious goal of medical researchers is to find ways to prevent diseases. Methods to accomplish that goal do exist for certain illnesses, but are rare for others. Two recent medical studies on the molecular level exemplify the effort of the scientists to contribute to strengthening it against organ failure and to immunizing the body against viruses.
Avoiding a bad heart condition
In the US, 1.5 million people suffer from a heart attack each year of which one third is killed by it. Scientists of the Lund University in Sweden have now discovered a way to reduce the risk of a heart attack through a vaccination. The researchers have developed a therapy which leads to the production of antibodies attacking the accumulation of fat deposits in the arteries. Such therapies are often the result of comprehensive research collaborations on an international level, and also rely on the recommendation by the antibody supplier, which provides the appropriate kits for long-term clinical studies. The promising research results are hoped to lead to an introduction of the antibody therapy within the next five years.
A vaccine against cervical cancer
The vaccination Cervarix was approved in various European countries and the US between 2007 and 2009. It has been a great success as it immunizes the body against certain types of the Human Papillomavirus which were proved to be the cause of genital warts and cervical cancer by the German researcher Harald zur Hausen. Since its approval, many young girls and boys have got the three necessary injections and have thereby reduced their risk to fall ill to cervical, vaginal, penile, vulvae and anal cancer.
New results in the prevention of cervical cancer
In order to optimize the vaccine, scientists continue studying its effects in relation to the virus. It has been found out recently that even people who do not get the shot may profit from it through the phenomenon of herd immunity. It is related to the fact that vaccinated people do not transmit the virus to their potentially unvaccinated sexual partners and thereby help reduce the circulation of the virus. Hence, the virus may disappear or get extinct over time. This fact, however, should not prevent young people from getting vaccinated themselves. After all, one does not always know if a sexual partner is immunized or not.
On top of that, it has to be noted that there are still some oncogenic types of the Human Papillomavirus which are not covered by the current vaccines. It therefore remains the challenge of the scientists to develop serums to cover a broader range of HPV virus.