We have unequivocal evidence that infection-related cancer can be prevented and that excellent science can provide the biological rationale for the development of therapies.
Preventing infection-related cancers represents a remarkable opportunity for improved public health.
ONI: Any closing thoughts on the topic?
DR. DANNENBERG: The reason I chose to speak about the link between chronic infection and cancer at the AACR Frontiers meeting was to enhance the visibility of this issue. I think it is grossly underappreciated by the general public, and, unfortunately, too many healthcare workers are unaware of the significance of chronic infection as a potentially preventable cause of cancer.
As I mentioned, the burden of preventable cancers related to chronic infection is much greater in the developing world, so perhaps that is one reason it's not on our number 1 or 2 "to-do" lists.
But given the success in developing vaccines that prevent infection and cancer, it's vital that we continue to focus on this issue as a tractable approach to reducing the cancer burden. A major challenge will be to develop vaccines that are less costly and more readily given so that great science translates to improved global health.