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WHO Enlists Cancer, Stroke Treatments as 'Essential Medicines'

WHO Enlists Cancer, Stroke Treatments as 'Essential Medicines'

Thursday, 11 July, 2019 - 05:15
MA bottle of the Human Papillomavirus vaccination is seen at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine on September 21, 2011 in Miami.Joe Raedle / Getty Images file
Asharq Al-Awsat
The World Health Organization published an updated list of "essential medicines" on Tuesday, adding drugs for cancer, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

According to Reuters, the list included five new cancer therapies based on improved survival rates for lung, blood and prostate cancers.

It also recommended two new immunotherapies: nivolumab and pembrolizumab, that had improved survival rates by 50 percent for advanced melanoma, which was incurable until recently.

In a related context, British health officials said the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines could help prevent over 100,000 cases of cancer within the next four decades. HPV could lead to cervical, oral, anal, and genital organs cancers.

With the expansion of the HPV vaccine program to include both boys and girls, experts from the National Health Service (NHS) said this plan could prevent around 64,000 cervical cancer cases and over 50,000 cases of other cancers by 2058; 50 years after the launch of the program that started vaccinating girls in 2008, cancer signs could appear in girls who took the vaccine when they were teens.

HPV is a sexually transmitted virus linked to more than 99 percent of cervical cancers, as well as 90 percent of anal cancers, about 70 percent of vaginal and vulvar cancers and more than 60 percent of penile cancers.

The NHS said that as of September, HPV vaccines will be given to boys and girl aged 12 and 13 years old, as part of a government health program. Since the jab was introduce, infections of some types of HPV in 16 to 21 year old women have reduced by 86 per cent in England. A Scottish study also showed that the vaccine has reduced pre-cancerous cervical disease in women by up to 71 per cent.

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